Here is next year's garden, well, at least part of it, anyway. The seeds will go into labeled little bags and wait for spring. The peppercorn look-alikes are four o'clock seeds, the tiny grains spilling from capsules belong to nicotiana, the red fruit is a "Hansa" rose hip and the rest is a mixture of Chinese forget-me-nots and delphiniums. Last but not least, the bean pods are sweet peas.

There are few rules about harvesting seeds: always collect them when they are perfectly dry, store them in labeled paper bags in a cool dry place and don't let every flower go to seed (some plants die to the ground after all their flowers bear fruit).

If you need to collect large quantities of seeds, it is easier to bag the seed heads, cut them off the plant and hang them upside down to dry.

Hybrid plant varieties won't come true from seed, don't bother collecting "Sunrise" Cone flower seeds for instance. How do you know if a plant is a hybrid? If their flowers are double, significantly larger, or sport an unusual color for the breed they are probably hybrids and won't come true from seed. You might still want to propagate them and enjoy the surprise of a beautiful plant, even though not remotely similar to its parent.

Unusual for this means of propagation, the miniature China rose "Angel Wings" will grow from seed. The flowers look and smell like apple blossoms. This rose bush is compact and care free and great for mass plantings.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started learning about gardening from my grandfather, at the age of four. Despite his forty years' experience as a natural sciences teacher, it wasn't structured instruction, I just followed him around, constantly asking questions, and he built up on the concepts with each answer.

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: and, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.