Seed trays of newly emerged native plant seedlings bring a touch of spring to Powell Gardens’ greenhouses. Powell Gardens’ mission to embrace the Midwest’s spirit of place makes growing, promoting, displaying and conserving native plants an important activity. Each late winter we grow a wide array of native plants for Kansas City Wildlands (http://www.kcwildlands.org/).
Kansas City Wildlands is a not-for-profit coalition of resource professionals, private conservation organizations and conservation-minded citizens who restore and manage the finest remnants of native “wildlands” in Greater Kansas City. Powell Gardens is a partner in this coalition and our contributing role is to grow unique and rare native plants for Kansas City Wildlands restoration activities. All the seeds we plant are collected by Wildlands-trained volunteers from local natural areas.
Some of the seed is started in sheltered seed flats resting on heat mats to encourage germination. Each fall, the seed is brought to Powell Gardens by KC Wildlands volunteers. Our Senior Gardener Marie Frye then becomes in charge of growing these plants. The seed must first be stratified as per each individual species. For example: some seed must be chilled for up to three months and be kept moist at all times before being put in seed trays or flats to germinate. Some seeds require scarification — that is the breaking of the seed coat for germination.
Here seedling Blazingstars (Liatris) can be seen from the corner of the seed flat.