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Amaryllis belladonna seeds germinate very quickly, even if stored in the fridge. Therefore, seed can only be offered in a short window in March-April. Here we offer mixed open-pollinated seeds from our finest selections in packets of 5 seeds. Easy to germinate but you must be patient for bulbs to reach flowering size.
Bring your garden alive with bees and butterflies! Single flowers, mainly shades of red and yellow. Mostly green foliage but different shaped leaves. Compact plants that do not need support. Sow seed in the Spring, will flower within three months from sowing and will continue until the Autumn. Plants produce tubers that can last for many years.
'Blue Wonder' Not my raising, but possibly the nearest to blue Sweet Pea cultivar. Early flowering, can be sown year round, from March for Winter flowers, June to October for Summer flowers, or November for Autumn flowers. Approximately 25 seed per packet.
It took over a quarter of a century to produce the first named reverse bicolour cultivar, where the wing petals are darker than the standard petal. 'Erewhon', which has the greatest contrast of colour, is on the blue side of the colour spectrum. 'Maloy' was the first reverse bicolour on the red side of the spectrum. 'Candyfloss' has a paler standard and as the name suggests, is evocative of that confection. Summer flowering, with long stems which bear five or more flowers. Approx. 25 seeds per packet.
Clivia 'All Rounder' A hybrid between Woodland Glory (C. gardenii x C. caulescens) and C. robusta. Strong, relatively quick maturing plants that suppress weeds. Can flower at any time but mainly during winter months. Decorative, long lasting red berries. Requires light shade and freedom from severe frost. 5 seed per packet. Seed size variable. New Zealand orders only.
It took me 30 years to develop reverse bicolour Sweet Peas, where the standard petal is paler than the wing petals. 'Erewhon' demonstrates the greatest contrast. The wing petals could be more elegant, which caused an exhibitor to say that 'Erewhon' reminded him of "a bat flying out of a sunset".
Dahlia imperialis is the best-known Tree Dahlia in Northern New Zealand. It can grow to 3 or more metres in height and flowers briefly in May, usually coinciding with strong equinoxal winds. Its’ hollow stems frequently succumb. The most commonly seen form has large pendulous “pocket handkerchief” flowers. There is a double flowered white form as well as a single flowered white. The origin of both the pocket handkerchief form and double white remain a mystery. Accessions of D. imperialis from the wild have more normal, circular single blooms.
For over a century people have tried to cross D. imperialis with the hybrid garden Dahlia, D. variabilis in order to widen the colour range, to no avail. Two decades ago Dr Melanie Gatt undertook a PhD study looking at the cytogenetics of the genus Dahlia.
There are other species of Dahlia that have perennial aerial parts that are not hollow and become woody. D. tenuicaulis and D. apiculata have been introduced into New Zealand and these were available to Melanie. By determining the chromosome number of various accessions, she was able to achieve combinations between the various Tree Dahlia species and more importantly D. coccinea, one of the two species that gave rise to the modern hybrid garden Dahlia. As a result, a whole series of Tree Dahlias were created with a range of flower colours and shapes. ‘Timothy Hammett’ named after my late older son, is in my estimation the very best. It produces truly massive woody stems and flowers throughout much of the year.
I have done my best to maintain this genetic material, but the brutal truth is that plants are safest when in commercial production and Tree Dahlias simply do not fit the current supermarket model of the retail garden trade. Equally we are not a production nursery, we are breeders and one needs to be properly geared up to supply plants by mail order. For this reason, we have decided to offer seed in the hope that enough kindred spirits will help to keep this germplasm alive. To check viability of the seed, which is slender in comparison with that of the garden dahlia, we germinated seed last season and planted out the resultant plants. They were planted fairly late so didn’t reach their full stature, but demonstrated wide variability in plant habit and flower form and colour.
I have again lost ‘Orchid’ that everyone seems to want but there were individuals in the population, which resembled it in both shape and colour, plus others of interesting colour on the red/yellow side of the spectrum. Because of the hybrid nature of the seed from open-pollination and the hybrid nature of the parents, there is little point in offering seed from specific selections; better to offer a mixture.
Plant breeding, however scientific, is a lottery. Every seed will not produce a winner but I am sure there will be gems amongst this seed and between us we can preserve and develop Melanie’s work of two decades ago.
'Lord Anson's Pea' This is a perennial species from South America. It has somewhat succulent leaves and stems and prefers to scramble rather than climb. It will grow outside as well as under cover, but can be temperamental. I have found that it prefers to flower during the winter months here in Auckland. Can be sown at any time of the year. Limited stock. 10 seed per packet.
Tangier Pea This is an unscented annual relative of the Sweet Pea from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. It is notable for a very large standard petal relative to the small wing petals. This form is a rich purpleish cerise colour that came to me via the Howick Village in Auckland. Limited stock. 10 seed per packet.
'Lipstick' Large, wavy, rich crimson flowers on long stems. Suitable for cut flowers and exhibition. Approximately 25 seeds per packet.
'Maloy' was the first reverse bicolour sweet pea on the red side of the colour spectrum. Standard apricot pink and wings a strong orange pink. Great in a floral arrangement. Approximately 25 seeds per packet.
Although the original, wild Sweet Pea, Lathyrus odoratus, from which all Sweet Peas have been derived was summer flowering, strains have been developed that are able to flower at different times of the year. This is controlled by the length of daylight hours, which varies both by season and geographic location. As a rule of thumb, Summer Flowering strains require 12 hours daylight to initiate flowering, Spring Flowering strains require 11 hours, while Winter Flowering strains require only 10 hours.
Spring Flowering types are best sown in the autumn while Summer Flowering types are best sown from mid winter in areas with mild winters like those experienced in Northern New Zealand. Spring and Summer types produce more sturdy plants, which produce strong basal shoots that soon take over from the primary shoot. Notwithstanding both the Winter and Spring strains perform very well if sown at the same time as the Summer types.
Scent is a difficult characteristic to breed. Expression of scent is very much dependant on temperature and humidity, while different people have differing ability to detect scent. Notwithstanding, Keith's work in combining the colours of the ancestral cultivars with bigger flowers and longer stems has also resulted in strongly perfumed cultivars. His 'High Scent' is recognised as the world benchmark for scent. This has smaller flowers with a clamped keel, but new introduction 'High Society' combines a waved, crisp white ground picotee edged pink flower with strong scent.
Very frequently, home gardeners are advised to soak seed overnight before sowing. This is unnecessary and potentially harmful for any hand harvested seed obtained from this website. Because of harvesting methods, seed from field production can on occasion result in hard seed coats, which delays or prevents germination. This is why the idea that seed needs to be soaked to identify hard seed has arisen.