Reflecting on Seeds, Part One

Seeds are one of nature’s miracles; the whole history of the plant, the evolution of a species over millions of years, is encased in this often tiny  package !  

A seed is an earthbound spaceship; it is a time capsule, with a tiny, embryonic plant waiting in suspended animation until conditions are suitable for its optimum growth, and the only time that a plant is not auto-trophic.

A seed is a package enclosing a living embryo.

Reflecting on Seeds, Part 2


The flowers of a plant are designed for the purpose of making seeds. If a flower is pollinated, then fertilization can take place, and a seed develops in the ovary of the plant. This is sexual reproduction, and ensures genetic diversity. As the fertilized seed develops, so does the fruit (pome, pod, or capsule, etc.) which surrounds the seed.



Some seeds have built-in mechanisms that prevent germination until ideal conditions are met. Even when perfect conditions are met, some of the ‘seed bank’ of a species will not germinate. They will wait, often camouflaged in the duff, as an insurance policy against a possibly disastrous growing season.

Ecological Studies in the Habitat Garden

The term Ecology is a relatively new field of study in the world of Biology; it was coined in 1866 by the German scientist, Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919). There are now two major subdivisions; animal ecology or plant ecology; and as many as twenty-one different specialty areas of study. One of the broadest specialty areas is Bioecology, when plants and animals are given equal emphasis; Autecology is the study of a single species of organism; and Synecology is the study of ecological inter-relationships among communities of organisms.

Seed Treatments

Whenever I'm out collecting I always keep it foremost in my mind that seeds are food. Food for all sorts of insects and other invertebrates, food for birds, rodents and other mammals, including humans!

Collecting Seeds

The only seed I’m still collecting now that the rainy season has begun, is from Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia); I’m picking handfuls of bright red, mature berries, and contained within each berry will be one or more seeds. The berries will be soaked in water, and after a few days, gently macerated, which makes it easier to separate the seed from the flesh of each berry.


I’ve always had a fascination with fecundity; a desire to make more of something, especially when an  abundance of possibilities is so obvious.  Plants offer so many opportunities to be fruitful. Now, with plenty of space at our new nursery, and access to gardens full of ‘mother plants’, I can indulge my every urge to be prolific and productive!


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