Friday, December 12, 2008

Love in a Mist and Other Fall Seedlings

A plant that completes its life cycle in one year is known as an annual. Everyone knows this right? When I think of annuals, I think of marigolds. Most everyone has grown marigolds at least once in their lives. You purchase the seeds in spring, plant them out, enjoy the bright orange or yellow flowers all summer, then pull the plants when fall arrives. But did you know some annuals begin their life cycle in the fall and complete it the following spring? It doesn't really seem like an annual when a plant begins growing in the fall, but I assure you, these plants pictured are annuals and I thought you might like a look to see if you have some growing in your garden this time of the year. I bet many of you do, including Cameron of Defining Your Home Garden. She has quite a few lovely fall seedlings in her yard. Take a look at her post and see if you have some larkspur and poppies growing right now. I am focusing on two that I have in my garden. They are Love in a Mist and Chamomile.

The first picture shows the seedling of Nigella damascena, aka Love in a Mist. This is a favored plant in the garden. It brings a bit of green to the winter garden and come February or March this plant spreads its wings and shows us a great deal of blue, light blue, pink, and even pale white blossoms. As if that were not enough, the seed pods are SO interesting and many gardeners grow Love in a Mist just for the seedpods.

The next picture shows chamomile. I am pretty positive it is German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), and not Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) because my chamomile is an annual and the Roman type is a perennial. Thanks for your help Cosmo! This seedling will grow into a plant about two feet wide by one foot high and it will cover itself with blooms once early spring arrives. I love this plant for its filling capacity and ability to tie together all the bright and varied colors of spring time flowers such as: salvias, irises, azaleas, and the various bulbs. The bloom color is pure white with a yellow center. The flowers look very much like small daisies.

I have grown both of these annuals for over five years now and have been quite pleased with them. Once they flower they usually stay in flower for about three to four months (in my garden), then set seed and slowly fade away until the fall; where I once again have to be on the lookout for these seedlings. The seedlings come from the ample seeds the flowers leave behind when they fade away.

I have never ever collected the German Chamomile seeds but it has been a mainstay all on its own. Sometimes the chamomile finds itself growing far away from the mother plant in areas I would never have intended for it to grow. Fall is when you can either pull the plant and compost it (who would want to?), or you can transplant the plant to a better location. The German Chamomile is not picky about light; which is a lifesaver in my shady garden. It can happily grow under the pine tree, or out in the veggie garden.

The Love in a Mist reliably self seeds in the area where it is growing. I do collect the seed heads and sometimes use them in flower arranging. Most of the time though I just sprinkle the seed heads in areas I wish to have more Love in a Mist growing. Love in a Mist needs full sun in order to do well and will severely languish in the shade; as I have learned.

Do look for these annuals while you are out in the garden. If you all know of any other annuals that you might find seeding in the garden right now, please leave a comment annotating them. I have not included biennials in this posting, but there are tons of biennial seedlings you will find growing in the garden at this time. These are just a few of the biennials growing in my garden right now, and perhaps yours too: parsley, hollyhocks, and Queen Anne's Lace.

in the garden....

Thank you very much for the pink hollyhock seeds Linda! They arrived yesterday, well packaged and all intact. I look forward to seeing their pretty faces in the garden and they will become your signature plant in my garden-is that okay? I need to get them in right away too! Thanks again!!

On yesterday's Green/Gold Hosta Post we have a winner with the exact correct guess! It was Skeeter's mother who guessed our friend Delona, the Hosta Guru Lifetime (somebody!) Master Gardener. Great job and thanks for the guess. It is such a small world to learn the connections, both through blogging and through real world connections. Thanks again Skeeter's Mom!


  1. Oh double play here? Must hurry. We are awash in the nigellas here, but none of that annual chamomile, hint hint. I will swap foxgloves for some! Love the fall seedlings, is it too late to plant some seeds now?


  2. I always think of wildflowers when I think of fall seedlings. I look for the little seedlings to pop up and turn into rosettes, then I worry about them all winter! :)
    Glad you got the seeds. I hope they do well in your garden and are a reminder of our friendship through blogging. Have a great weekend!

  3. I always forget to add and plant new seeds in fall. I want to plant some larkspurs. Thanks for the reminder. I think I have some of the seeds. I'm going to plant them anyway at this late date. They will just be winter sown seeds. All I have to do is sprinkle them around.

  4. Tina, They are sweet flowers...and the seed heads are pretty cool. I sowed poppies this year, let's see how they do! I love that zinnia and some cosmos reseed nicely! So much is still going on in the garden. gail

  5. My yard is one soggy mess today and more oak leaves decided to fall. Arggg. I have not seen any thing but weed in my grass but getting to the garden would require flippers now and I dont have any!

    Tina, I did not have any luck with the seeds of Lone in a Mist last year so maybe a few more seeds will find their way into my hands. As Frances says, hint hint.... :)

  6. Nigella is on my list of seeds to order for spring planting. I read that they bloom only for a brief time and quit as soon as the weather starts to get hot. Is that right? I want to be sure to plant them in a place where they won't leave a big hole midsummer.

  7. Thank you Tina, for a very informative post. I know nothing about either plant. I'm not sure they would do well here, especially popping up in the fall, and making it through the winter. It gets a lot colder in No. VA. than TN! They do sound pretty, though. I've not been very good with seed experimentation, but those I have tried haven't made it into live plants:( My yard is a mix of shade and sun, and my sunny areas are very crowded because that is where most of my favorite flowers are planted. But I suppose there's always room for 1 more! Perhaps they'd do well here in the spring--just not over the winter, I'm afraid. Take care! Jan/ThanksFor2Day

  8. Tina,

    More seedy friends! :-) I can't wait to see your Nigella next year. I had those on my 'wish list' but never figured out a good spot in the garden.


  9. Dear Tina,
    So very interesting!
    My camomile self sows too and is one of the first blooms in the spring. Years ago I grew "Love in a Mist". Very pretty and so easy.
    Thank you for an interesting post.
    I am a zone 5 and it really gets cold in the winter but we have many warm up days. Thus I have heaving in the gardens. After the loss of over 400 plants in the spring of 2007 I decided to only plant native. Wildflowers do very well in my backyard!
    Thanks again,

  10. Ok, I'm going to try the chamomile again (do you have feverfew? It's a perennial, looks a bit like chamomile but taller and less yellow in the blossom). I've never had a lot of luck with nigella, but I'd love more early spring color--I just wonder if it gets hot here too quickly? Thanks for the link love!

  11. I know alot of wildflowers do that up here, how....beyond me because it is so harsh on them for the winter. Stratisfied(sp) seeds need the same thing?

  12. I just have the typical pansies and ornamental kale. I did not know about these that you've mentioned in this post. But I shall remember to incorporate them. Thanks for the info.

  13. Good morning everyone! Late start this morning as there was a bit of Survivor business to attend to.

    Frances, No need to swap at all. I would gladly give you all the chamomile you desire. The problem is I have never collected seeds, I can certainly share plant though and will have to figure out how to get you one or two. This is how it grows each year, just like the nigellas. You really would love it. I do not believe it is too late to plant seeds. I got mine initially from a wildflower packet, but regular German chamomile spread now should work. Don't hold me to it as it has been a while.

  14. Got sidetracked on the telephone but I am back.

    Frances, Again, I don't think it is too late. Here is the thing, when I initially planted chamomile I thought it did not take, then one spring there it was everywhere-only because I did not pull those seedlings in the fall. I can give you a plant or spent plant the next time we come that way, OR spring fling, or you come this way. Too easy!

    Linda, That is the thing I never knew-wildflowers are up in the fall. You are so right! It was hard until I figured this out. I love the seeds and will be planting today-as soon as I get out there! Thanks again friend!

    Donna, Yes it is not too late at all. I too am trying to get some larkspurs established. Did you see Cameron's? Very nice bit of seedlings. I got some larkspur seeds at a PPS meeting and hope they all take. They are big. I was surprised. Go spread you some.

    Gail, I tried poppies so many years, finally gave up. Too much shade. Yours should do okay though with some sun. Good luck and I'll look for them in the spring. Becky at Plants and Stones has some of the most beautiful ones I have seen. You should see her header photo.

    Skeeter, You are in luck! I'll bring you some love in a mist seeds as I have two bags full of the seedheads now. We'll drop them on the ground in the sun and they will grow. Don't worry, it'll dry out-be happy for the rain as I know you are. Me too, still bulb planting and raking too.

    Marnie, No need to order seeds unless you want to, I am happy to send you some, just email me. Last June the plants were JUST going by. They bloomed from like April to June and the seedheads are so fun. Yes, they do die out and disappear. I planted them in several places, but at the feet of big plants is good or in an area bigger perennials can take over is great. They are very reliable. Frances has some spectacular ones in her garden too.

    Jan, Give them a try! Very easy and even in your area they should do well. I think they run antifreeze in their veins. I'd be happy to send you some, just let me know. The love in a mist do like sun, way more than chamomile.

    Cameron, The love in a mist might fit in your cottage garden up front somewhere? Where an edger can take over once it fades away. Good plants. The chamomile too.

    Sheila, Couldn't imagine losing 400 plants! Last year was such an awful year. Folks everywhere remember big economic days and dates, we gardeners also remember, big die out dates. I hope your garden recovers. Try some love in a mist with the chamomile, but wildflowers are the greatest too.

    Cosmo, Yes-I also have feverfew. In fact there is a post in drafts waiting for the right time. I bought it in Maine as I have not found it around here in the stores or even shows. It has done extraordinarily well and self seeded. I love it! Mine has some variegation in the leaves, gets about 2 feet tall with the same type of flowers as the chamomile. You have it in your white garden? I think love in a mist should still work for you there. Fall planting and germination is key. Very easy.

    Dawn, Yes, that is the thing with seeds-stratification. That is why fall/winter sowing works so well. One of my teachers at school said almost NO seed collected straight from the plant will germinate readily as all seeds need a curing or stratification period. Very interesting. There are whole books dedicated to it. Just google forget me nots and see what you have to do with them. Urgh!

    Brenda, These are wildflowers I guess you'd call them. They came in a packet and have taken. I really like them for the reliability and the fact they add to the diversity. They play well, especially the chamomile. Nigella looks best in a mass on its own.

  15. I don't think I've ever grown Love-in-a-mist, but it has an interesting name and looks quite attractive even without flowers. Chamomile, now we're talkin'. I will have to try it in the shade here. Sun is too intense. How did your master gardener meeting go? I sent someone new to TN your direction. She was visiting Annie's site and wanted to know who in TN was a good garden-blogging resource. I also mentioned Frances. Are there any others I'm not aware of? I didn't mean to exclude anyone, just not up on the TN group.

  16. My petunia seed falls all summer, and some of it is coming up now. Tiny, tiny little plants that will hopefully survive winter to give me a head start on next spring's blooms.

  17. Walk2Write, Chamomile would grow so well for you down there, shade is good for it. Mine loves it here in the shade-what a lifesaver chamomile is! Thanks for sending a new person this way. They can look at my sidebar and find lots of Tennessee blogs and all are pretty fantastic. But I am a wee bit prejudiced for our little state.☺ lol Okay, okay, I like most all blogs lots! If I know a new blogger, one thing I know is they tend to check out as many blogs as possible before settling on favorite so they'll have fun looking around! It is the only way really.

    I had a really good time at the party. Won a lovely poinsettia; which is good since I never buy them. Jimmy went with me since Mr. Fix-it was working, and I would like to say he enjoyed himself, but I think he was a bit bored. No other kids but lots and lots of gardeners. I took a bunch of pictures too. Wonder why? Ha! I'm not such a good photographer but one thing I learned is to take two of every picture. Everyone got used to it pretty quickly but I am not sure they enjoyed that part. Stay there! Stay there! One more picture!

    Nola, I had petunias self seed for me one year and I thought it too cool! I bet yours will survive. Maybe a light light coating of leaves would help. Plants are so tough and have such a will to live.

  18. Forgot to say, I really hate making an extra step for folks, but with all the spam out there, I feel it is best to put word verification on. It is very frustrating and accomplishes nothing. I do report it each and every time and thank goodness for Sitemeter to be able to track it fairly well. Thanks everyone for you patience. With the Internet comes this problem for all of us bloggers. Very frustrating and underhanded. Sigh.

  19. Hi Tina,
    I've never grown either of these plants but must admit they are pretty--so lacy looking. I would have to plant them in pots as we have too much wild grasses & such here that I wouldn't be able to see it.
    Thanks for the info.

  20. Tina, I'm thinking Mom has not been on because she has no power. She has heat, the gas heater in the apartment doesn't need power. We got 3/4 inch of snow, big cry from what they were say! Southern Maine got it worse esp. Saco.

  21. Yup, I was thinking the same thing since I heard on the news how they are socked in. Hate to say it-glad I live in the south!☻

  22. One year soon I'm going to make a blog, or at least a page, featuring weed seedlings. I have coddled far too many sorrels and dandelions and such that might be SOMETHING and turns out to be weeds.

    At least there are few BLUE weeds, so I'm always certain about poppies and silene.

  23. Ha Jean! Love it as I know the feeling. I too have coddled the dandelions hoping they were poppies. I do recognize sorrel right away so out it comes. I read on a blog somewhere that you can eat this wild sorrel and that there is a cultivated kind too. I am thinking, no thanks and no thanks to growing in my garden. Thanks for stopping by and I wish you very Happy Holidays.

  24. Nothin, and I mean nothin! is growin around here. I'm so jealous of you I could...well...I.., I... I could just come down there and steal your "love in a mist and other fall seedlings!"

  25. I've never grown Love in a Mist. It has lovely foliage. What a nice surprise on a winter day in the garden. Linda sent me some of the Hollyhock seeds too. Are you going to plant those now? I was going to wait until spring.

  26. Like TC, I'm jealous. I wish we had some green seedlings outside right now.
    I was noticing more spam comments as well.

  27. TC, Come on down-got plenty to share!

    Racquel, Yup, planted them yesterday. Just scratched the soil and moved the leaves. They should germinate in the spring, it might not be until the following year that I enjoy them, but I know they will grow. Sprinkle some wildflower seeds and you'll get love in a mist or if you want some seeds I'll send you some. Anyone who wants some, I'll be separating them and getting them out as soon as possible. Just email me.

    Cindy, I know it is cold and snowy up there. Soon you'll have some seedlings. It is hard to believe the difference just a few hundred miles makes. Those spam comments are pretty sophisticated and drive me nuts. What makes the spammer think they'll get traffic from blogs. Urgh!!

  28. Thanks for all this info, Tina! I received some nigella seeds from a UK blogging friend, but have set them aside for spring planting. I hope I did the right thing. Of course, here in the cold nothing blooms at this time of year.

    Catching up on posts, I had to laugh at your story of the hosta lover searching for the perfect yellow hosta. That sounds like me a few years ago:)

  29. Hi Tina,
    My larkspur, and sometimes bachelor buttons start coming up in the early fall. I always thought, in our zone 5b, Nebraska, that those seedlings would freeze and die, and it was their wiser siblings who waited until spring that would take the places of their parents.

    I have grown nigella before, but it hasn't come back reliably. This year, I grew some from seed planted late, the first week of June, and some seedlings transplanted from a friend's garden. It all ended up blooming, and I was so excited! I took some of the seed pods for drying, and left enough for them to come up in the spring. I'll have to go look to see if any are coming up.

    I got some money plant, a biennial in, and the seedlings are quite small, so I'm not sure if they'll survive, but if they do, I will have some nice flowers to go with the nigellas and others in there.

    Thanks for the interesting and informative post!


  30. Yup, we lost power for 36 hours. Cable and internet for 48 hours. Phone was in and out all thru it. Guess things are now back to normal for up but I feel for the many people still withour power. NH got the worst of it all. We stayed nice and warm and I have the Coleman camp stove and 2 Coleman lanterns so we do okay. I always have 6 or 8 propane cylinders so we were fine. Those lanterns work great, in fact, my neighbor called to see if we had power as our house lights looked so bright. Like you said Dawn, we have the gas wall unit that works withour power and I had the portable K1 heat in the living room. We had brought a big gas tank in from the grill and had the heater hooked to it that Jack gave us but did'nt need it as we stayed plenty warm so it never got lit. I don't know how people without all those things do it as it is a real pain with all the stuff I have. I really worry about older folks and folks with small children. Glad it only happens ever 10 or 15 years!!!

  31. I also love love-in-a-mist, including its foliage, which I also have some of in December. It's a good reseeder! I'm also partial to hollyhock in any color. I have some seeds in a kind of burgundy shade (single, not double flowers). If you want them, just email me your address!
    ~ Monica

  32. Hi Rose, Sue, Mom, and Monica, Just catching up here for a minute. I am glad to hear of all the fall seedlings growing in your gardens. Rose, I thnk keeping the seeds until spring wouuld be good, just watch for the seedlings in the fall too.

    Sue, Thanks for the money plant info, I had not thought of that one. I hope yours all survive. I wonder why the nigella is not reliable.

    Mom, I was happy to talk to you and I am glad you stayed warm and safe. No driving in that terrible weather! Stay safe.

    Monica, Thank you for your very kind offer of the hollyhock seeds. That is one plant many, many love growing in the garden. I love them too but will pass on the seeds for now. A friend gave me some burgundy ones already so I will see how they do. I don't usually have much luck with the hollyhocks but did get some white ones last year. I hope to get some this year too and some burgundy ones. I will email you when I get a chance. Thanks again!