How did I know I wanted to grow Ptilostemon afer? Because when Peter, Alison and I made the trek to Far Reaches Farm last August I saw these and asked about them...
Kelly identified them as Ptilostemon afer but said they didn't have any for sale. He did offer to save me seeds and then brought a pack down to the HPSO's Fall PlantFest last September. Wasn't that nice? Not only did a very busy nursery guy remember I asked about a random plant, but then he brought me seeds and wouldn't let me pay for them...
I sowed those seeds late last winter (the pressure!), along with a few other kinds that germinated right away, the Ptilostemon afer did nothing. Sadly I did a crappy job of hardening off the other seeds that did grow and ended up tossing them. How did the Ptilostemon afer make it to this stage? Because I'd resisted tossing the rest of the bunch and left them where I had to look at them and feel guilty. Thank god I did because these finally started germinating and growing, it took months before there was any sign of life, way beyond when I'd lost hope.
I ended up with six plants total. Three are still in holding, and three went in the ground.
They're super hardy so I will probably plant two more of the three in holding once our temperatures cool and the rains return in the fall. I'll hold on to one just for insurance sake, and plant it out in the spring.
Here's the cool thistle flowers I have to look forward to...
|Ptilostemon afer 6 Copenhagen Bot Garden 140625
Photo: Jan Thomas Johansson (© 2014 Jan Thomas Johansson)
And if you're now thinking these look pretty cool and wish you could have them in your garden you're in luck, because they're available on the Far Reaches Farm website now! (thanks to fellow HPSO board member Richard Hoffman for alerting me to that fact).
So, emboldened by that success, I'm hatching another seed starting plan. This beauty is Bomarea hirtella (Zone 9), photo taken by my friend Eric Peterson, whose plant this is.
His plant set seed last year, he planted them, and experienced success. He now has plant babies and gave me one, that orange arrow is pointing at it, below. It's still tiny but I'm committed to growing it on to planting-out size.
My Bomarea (unknown species) has set seed every year it's bloomed, and it's been blooming for weeks now (orange flowers, below—hidden at the top of my Trachycarpus). I'm going try my luck with these seeds. I love this plant and would be thrilled to be able to make more. Wish me luck!
Weather Diary, Aug 29: Hi 82, Low 66/ Precip .04"
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