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This week I have noticed all the baby birds around the greenhouse. The Tree Swallow, Eastern Bluebird and Carolina Wren nested nearby and all the babies have fledged. The Eastern Bluebirds like to sit on top of their nest box and look around. The Tree Swallows are swooping over the meadow and tweeting like crazy. The Carolina Wrens also sing a lot and tend to hide in the shrubs next to the building. It is certainly a new beginning for all the birds.

In the garden, it is time for me to start to think about next year. The seed of numerous species are ripening, or have been ripening over the last few weeks. It is important for me to think about what I want to plant next year so that I can collect seed now. Sometimes I get distracted with the work at hand and forget to collect something. Fortunately, seed is also available from various nurseries and seed sources so I know I have a back-up supply.

Most gardeners like to think about planting in the winter. Many of us buy plants in spring, so we don’t have to worry about collecting seed ahead of time. I think that it helps us get through the months when we cannot garden to look at the garden catalogs and dream of what is to come.

While you are enjoying your garden at its summer peak, take a look around. It may be possible for you to collect seed and grow something that you have only a few of. My husband has been admiring the red hollyhock that has volunteered in our garden at home. I promised him I would collect seed and grow some more. Here at Norcross, I think about all the surprises I have had this year (see last week’s blog) and have been able to collect seed from some of those plants that I haven’t seen in a few years. I have harebells (Campanula rotundifolia) blooming more profusely than in recent years – I know I will be collecting those seeds.

Many garden plants are hybrids and do not reproduce from seeds. Your hybrid day lilies or bearded iris will probably not come true from seed. Next time you are in your garden – take a look around, there might be something worth collecting to grow for next spring.

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