Top Rare Seeds To Grow
Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
One of the most primitive living seed plants, they are also very unusual and popular ornamentals. A rugged trunk, topped with whorled feathery leaves has led to the common name “Sago Palm”, however it is actually related to conifer and Ginko trees – all cone bearing plants which trace their origins back to the ancient flora of the early Mesozoic era. Often called “living fossils”, Cycads have changed very little in the last 200 million years.
Regardless of age or size, Cycas revoluta is one of the easiest plants to grow, indoors or out, by beginner or expert. This subtropical adapts to a wide range of temperatures from 15 to 110 degrees F (-11 to 42 degrees C), accepts full sun or bright interior light, thrives with attention, and tolerates neglect. In addition, Cycads are extremely long-lived. A 220 year old specimen of Encephalartos, a relative of Cycas revoluta, is on display at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew England; the restoration of the famous Palm House required it to be temporarily transplanted to a holding area for more than a year; the move was successful and is an example of the durability of these ancient “living fossils”.
Also known as Sweet pansy, Wood violet, English violet, Common violet and Garden violet.
These are the true sweet scented violets as sold by the city flower sellers in the city streets 50 years ago and more – and are the scent ‘Parma Violet’ sweets are based on. These violets were very popular in late Victorian times.
Happy even in quite deep shade, the pale green foliage will carpet the ground. But the real treat comes in late February / early March when the first of the dainty ‘lavender-blue flowers appear. In many cases it’s the scent you will notice before seeing the flower – there is no real way to describe this other than gorgeously sweet! Flowering can continue right through until May – and then sporadically through the year into autumn.
Hardy Kiwi Fruit or “Cocktail Kiwis”
Actinidia arguta Issai is a self-fertile variety of the mini-kiwi. Unlike the species it does not need a male and a female plant to produce fruit. It bears smooth-skinned fruit of the same taste and shape like kiwi but smaller to 4 or 5 cm. They are green and ripen gradually from the end of September until end October and the sweetest when picked after they have softened a little. Kiwis need a sunny and warm site with semi-fertile, acidic, fresh soil. This variety is a small vine than the normal Kiwi and was bred to sustain frosts of up to -29°C – even that should be enough for our recent winters! From experience the plants may take quite a few years to reach fruiting maturity.
The Chicory Flower
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a herb and root that has been known for its curative benefits since the first century a.d.. It is a member of the Asteraceae family. A scraggly plant with blue flower heads, chicory flourishes in the wild, as well as in gardens all over the world. It may be found in Europe, the Near East, northern and southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and North and South America.
The dried leaves and roots of the chicory plant are collected in autumn for medicinal purposes. When flowering, the whole plant is collected and dried. With a height that may reach up to 5 ft (1.5 m), chicory can be recognized by its oblong leaves that resemble a crosscut saw or slit, with numerous stiff hairs on the underside. Chicory, whose common names include succory, chicory root, chicory herb, blue sailors, wild chicory, or hendibeh, is well known for its bitter taste and use as a coffee substitute.
In addition, the leaves of chicory may also be used as compresses to be applied externally to ease skin inflammations and swellings.
According to folklore, chicory was recommended as a laxative for children, and it is also believed to increase the flow of bile. As a mild diuretic, it increases the elimination of fluid from the body, leading to its use as a treatment for rheumatism and gout.
Allium bulbs (Giant)
The majestic Gladiator allium is a fall planted flower bulb that blooms from late spring into early summer. Like all alliums, Gladiator is best planted in clumps of 10 or more bulbs to create a stunning and unusual effect in the late spring garden. Gladiator alliums will produce sweet-scented globe-like flowers of up to 6 inches in diameter. Also, due to its impressive size and color, the Gladiator allium is excellent for either cut flower or dried flower arrangements.