Some of my Hardy Plant Society seed order has arrived. With the order came a packet of mystery joy. When ordering seeds from the scheme at the end of the year, it is possible to opt for a free packet of mixed seeds. These are loose seeds, unlabelled, the sweepings from the drawers of the seed sorting room. Last year, with your help, I played a guessing game with these mystery seeds. In the end, that didn’t go too well, I killed most of them by overfeeding, then many of the others went to the great compost heap in the sky having died of thirst in the hot summer. Still, it is still an enticing prospect. This year’s mystery seeds are certainly a mixed bunch, all shapes and sizes.


I could just pitch them all into a seed tray and be done with it, but they will likely germinate at different rates so I prefer to separate them where possible.

After an hour and half of rather calming seed sorting, I had 40 little piles, each numbered for later reference.


Click on the picture to zoom in. Do you recognise any of them? I think number 27 are zinnia, and 36 has been identified by many (on Twitter) as possibly hollyhock. Let me know in the comments.

I have sown them in individual modules. I’ll prick them out as they come through.


I have covered them with some sieved compost, given them a good water and parked them in the heated bench. Not knowing what the seeds are means I can’t give them any specific treatment – some may prefer to be outside. Never mind. I’ll have too many plants anyway and it’s easier for me to manage them in the greenhouse. Any of these that germinate are a bonus extra.

I gave up sorting at 40 piles, but there were still a lot of teeny seeds left.

I briefly attempted to sort them using the zoom feature on my phone camera. This does provide a pretty clear view. This next photo is a close up of the area circled in yellow above.

At that magnification the differences are very obvious and a more patient soul than I might have persevered. Frankly I can’t be bothered. I have just sown them all into an 11cm pan, they can take their chances in a shared dormitory.

It is fun to think that among this unidentified bunch may be an unusual plant, or a special hybrid that becomes a legendary garden plant. Or they may all be entirely ordinary. Who knows?

Let the guessing games begin!

I’ll be back soon with update involving germination.