saving seeds: Cosmos

It’s the time of year where I can start saving seeds and I am super excited about it. While this is probably a tedious task for a lot of folks, I really enjoy it. It’s especially enjoyable with a plant like Cosmos, which has super easy to gather seeds that separate from the chaff with practically no effort.

My usual procedure is to take a pair of household shears and snip the dried seed head off the stem directly into a large envelope.

Front walk flowers

When I’ve gathered all the seed heads I can find, I gently crush the envelope between my hands so most of the seeds fall off the heads. Then I dump it out onto a piece of paper towel (a piece of plain white paper works well, too) and pick out the seeds.

Saving seeds - Cosmos

I place these into a smaller envelope and let them fully dry out (usually they are super dry by this point, but I like to make sure so that there’s no chance they’ll mold). When I’ve got all the seeds out, I dump the chaff into the compost and wait for more seed heads to dry out on the plant. It’s so easy! I’m hoping to plant cosmos in a few different places in the yard next year – they’re lovely by the front walk but they’re SO HUGE and really just a bit big for that area. You can see here that some of them are as tall as I am!

These cosmos have reached Anne height

This is just a bit overwhelming for a front walk, I think. I’m really hoping that these seeds I’m gathering allow me to create more pollinator-friendly areas next year!

Front walk flowers

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ga-ga-ga-garden

Things are going pretty well in the Firefly Cottage gardens overall. The flowers and ornamentals I sowed and planted are really doing quite well – I’m so happy that so many of the Dollar Store clearance bin seeds from last year germinated.

I haven’t grown Zinnias before and I love them! Pollinators seem to love them, too, and I’m hoping to be able to save seeds for next year.
Gardens at Firefly Cottage
So many of them remind me of ladies’ hats from yore.

The Cosmos have also been growing really exuberantly – some of these are almost as tall as I am!
Gardens at Firefly Cottage

This is Celosia, which I haven’t grown before:
Gardens at Firefly Cottage
I actually think I weeded some of this when it was young because it looked weedy and I couldn’t identify it! D’oh! At this stage, you can so tell it’s related to Amaranth, can’t you?

I also planted a bunch of seeds around the house and the Petunias have been really going to town:
Gardens at Firefly Cottage
I am usually not a huge fan of these annuals – I like perennials since they just keep on going and require so much less from me – BUT I am seeing so many pollinators that I think I may change my attitude.

In the raised bed, I have had a powdery mildew issue. I have been almost entirely ignoring this garden except to pick the occasional cucumber, though, so I guess I can’t complain.
Gardens at Firefly Cottage

I do have two sizeable pumpkins growing, though, so maybe the powdery mildew isn’t such a big deal?
Raised bed garden
I wonder if they’ll turn out okay!

I sowed marigold seeds all around the perimeter of this bed and some of them are huge!
Gardens at Firefly Cottage
This one is easily over four feet tall! Most of the rest are somewhere between one and two feet tall.

Lastly for now, I also threw down some dill seeds on the north side of the garage and there are a few sprouts:
Dill
I just love the smell of dill, don’t you?

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update of late

We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately, and the temperatures have been not as hot as usual. Things are growing, though, and I expect it’ll get hotter now that August is almost here.

I planted marigold seeds along the fence-side bed in the spring, and they are really coming into bloom now.

fence-side bed

You can see that I alternated different types – I didn’t realize that some of them would be gigantic! The sections that don’t have blooms at calf-level have marigold plants that are easily three feet tall or taller. They’re starting to bloom, too, though they are behind the others by a week or more (by my guess).

marigold

I planted some mixed seeds in the very small, sort of awkward bed by the driveway, and lo and behold, there are both cosmos and sunflowers blooming there.

sunflowers and cosmos

sunflower

cosmos

I also have a few varieties of sunflowers in the back yard, but they aren’t blooming yet:

fence-side bed

They are surrounded by this mint, which, as it will, is huge and spreads a little more each year. I’ll probably have to cut it back next year, but for this year, it’s filled in a weird bed that I don’t know what else to do with, so I’m going with it.

In the back garden, the mason bee house has gained a few more residents:

mason bee house

The left-hand column is mostly filled with actual mason bees (as far as I know, though I didn’t see them all go in to know for sure), but the others seem to be stuffed with straw – perhaps birds are the culprits?

The tomatoes are growing, though not ripe yet:

black krim tomato

fox cherry tomato

and the squash are still going:

buttercup squash

baby pam squash

I think that largest squash might be ready pretty soon.

I also got some more really good deals at Lowe’s. They keep marking things down – hooray! I added ten Royal Candles Speedwell plants to the front yard:

front yard

Also in the front yard, my Black Knight Butterfly Bush is blooming, tiny as it may be:

black knight butterfly bush

Back to the bargains, I also got some Giles Van Hess Speedwell:

Giles Van Hess Speedwell

and some Munstead Red Stonecrop:

Munstead Red Stonecrop

That will apparently flower in red, and the foliage turns reddish, too. I’ll look forward to seeing what it looks like.

Finally, because I can’t resist, an obligatory adorable dog photo (Brodie sleeping):

Brodie all snugged up

More photos on Flickr.

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