New Seeds from Thompson & Morgan

New varieties from Thompson & Morgan for 2009

Cherry Brandy Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia x hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’)

'Cherry Brandy' Rudbeckia

'Cherry Brandy' Rudbeckia

Following on the 2002 introduction of Rudbeckia ‘Cherokee Sunset’, Thompson & Morgan flower breeders worked hard to develop the first-ever red Rudbeckia from seed – Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy! These robust plants have outstanding garden performance, producing a mass of attractive, cherry-colored blooms all summer long – triumphing over heat, drought and poor soils! Stunning when planted in drifts in borders or can be planted in large containers to create a feature plant on a patio or terrace. Flowers average 3-4 inches in width, 24 inches in height. Hardy? maybe? Thompson & Morgan says that this plant is a half hardy annual. Winner of the Fleuroselect Novelty Award in 2007.

Sow seed on the surface of good, free-draining, seed starting soil. Start seeds about four months before the last average frost date. Cover with a very fine sprinkling of sifted peat moss or vermiculite. Seal the container inside a clear plastic bag and keep at a temperature of 20-25C (68-77F) until after germination which usually takes 7-21 days. Do not exclude light, as this helps germination.
Transplant seedlings when large they are enough to handle into trays or 7.5cm (3in) pots. Gradually acclimatise plants to cooler conditions for a few weeks before planting them out after all risk of frost has gone. Plant them 30cm (12in) apart.

‘Bronze Dragon’ Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus nanus ‘Bronze Dragon’)

'Bronze Dragon' Snapdragon in full bloom.

'Bronze Dragon' Snapdragon in full bloom.

‘Bronze Dragon’ Snapdragon is an eye-catching, bushy, dwarf plant with the darkest, almost black foliage ever seen by Thompson & Morgan breeders on a snapdragon. Bred by Thompson and Morgan, ‘Bronze Dragon’ looks almost as attractive before flowering as it does when smothered in its gorgeous, purple and white bi-colored blooms. Truly outstanding in borders or containers. Can also boast having very good rust resistance. Grows to 12 inches (30 cm) tall. Remove spent blooms to encourage more flowers. Thompson & Morgan lists this plant as a half hardy annual (zone 7?)

Sow seeds on the surface of a good, free-draining, damp seed starting mix. Do not cover the seed. Place container inside a sealed plastic bag and keep at 20-25C (68-77F) until after germination which usually takes 10-21 days. Do not exclude light, as this helps germination. Sow 10 weeks before the last average spring frost.

Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Gradually acclimatise plants to cooler conditions for a few weeks before planting out after all risk of frost.  Plant them 23-30cm (9-12in) apart.

Mandela’s Gold Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae ‘Mandela’s Gold’)

'Mandela's Gold' Bird of Paradise

'Mandela's Gold' Bird of Paradise

A rarely-offered, golden-yellow bird of paradise! After 20 years of hand pollination and selection by the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, a small quantity of seed became available in 1994. Since then Thompson & Morgan has tried to introduce this variety into its catalogue. Patience usually pays off and finally we can offer more gardeners the chance of growing and seeing these flamboyant golden-yellow and purple blooms. Height to 6 ft. Width to 6 ft. Hardy to zone 10.

Soak seed in warm water for 36 hours before sowing and carefully remove the orange fluff from the one side of the seed as this can inhibit germination. Sow the seeds into pots or trays of moist seed starting soil and cover with a ¼ in layer of sifted peat moss or vermiculite. Place seed containers in a warm place, and keep between 65-85 deg. F. Sow the seeds so that they are just on the surface – light helps germination. Keep the surface of the soil moist but not waterlogged. Germination can take 1-6 months. When large enough to handle, transplant the seedlings into 3 in pots or trays. Challenging to germinate but easy to grow. Plants can be moved outside during the summer, but will need winter protection in a greenhouse or indoor by a large sunny window. Feed monthly with balanced liquid fertilizer during spring and summer, water sparingly during winter.

Microgreens

Microgreens are eaten as young seedlings, prior to the first true leaves when they are full of an intense range of flavors. They are quick and easy to grow indoors all year round and are ready to eat in only 6-15 days.

Purple radish seedlings ideal for sandwiches, soups or salads.

Purple radish seedlings ideal for sandwiches, soups or salads.

Living Greens can be grown in a similar way to mustard and cress. After many months of trialling, Thompson & Morgan recommends filling trays with vermiculite, then sprinkling the seeds liberally, but not too thickly on the surface. Seed compost and garden soil are not recommended due to possible pest/disease contamination. Place the trays on a warm windowsill or in the greenhouse.


Broccoli seedlings

Broccoli seedlings

Ensure the seeds are constantly moist and as the seedlings emerge, especially during summer, mist spray or water carefully as necessary. Just like sprouting seeds and salad leaves, they are rich in healthy nutrients, ideal for spicing up sandwiches and salads or garnish soups. Seedlings will mature quicker in the warmer, longer days.


Amaranth 'Red Army' Seedlings ready to eat

Amaranth 'Red Army' Seedlings ready to eat

New for 2009 Thompson & Morgan is offering Amaranth ‘Red Army’, Broccoli, Purple Radish, Arugula ‘Victoria’, Red Mustard and Greek Cress seeds in their microgreens collection.


 
All images are from Thompson & Morgan.

For more details about Thompson & Morgan seeds visit the www.thompson-morgan.com website and click the appropriate international site at the bottom.

4 comments to New Seeds from Thompson & Morgan

  • Oh, that snapdragon is beautiful! Nice informative post, thank you!

  • Mandela’s Gold. We have a plant, but it is still sulking after being transplanted from the Camps Bay garden. It DOESN’T like moving! When I first saw the seeds lying on the patio I wondered what on earth they were. Small round black things, OK, but with a violent Halloween orange ruff. What IS that?

  • Administrator

    Hi Elephant’s Eye- The bright orange tufts on the Bird of Paradise seeds are called arils. They are fleshy, specialized growths on the seed that don’t do anything to help the seed germination but may even hinder it if it starts to rot. In its native habitat, birds and monkeys feed on the bright orange arils of the Bird of Paradise seed. Some of the black seeds will get eaten with the arils — helping it spread to new locations. Good luck with your plant.

  • Mia

    You made some good points here.