Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

Seed collection at rosybee

Borage seeds ripening as the stems dry

Borage seeds ripening as the stems dry

This is seed collection season and at rosybee we try and collect seed from all our favorite plants especially those we like to have lots of like borage and phacelia, but also those plants which I find germinate better from fresh seed.

We grow an acre of mixed borage and phacelia in succession to provide a bee-buffet from end of May through to August. Borage is particularly tricky to collect seed from as each flowering stalk will ripen and drop only a couple or seeds every few days and so extends its seed ripening over about 6 weeks. When the borage begins to set seed we collect the whole stem and leave it to dry out slowly in the polytunnel (pictured below); that way more seeds ripen before the stalk becomes too dry and we get more seed. The down-side is that as it dries the prickles which cover the plant become brittle and much more scratchy so its a job that is best done in protective clothing.

The phacelia is much easier; just snap the flower heads off, put them in a box to dry and when they are ready all the seed falls easily to the bottom.

We also collect our own seed for many of the perennials we grow and sell, that way we know exactly what the parent plants are like.

by rosi