In mid-summer last year, we visited a local garden when it was briefly opened to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme. It was a large garden with many gorgeous plants and one of them was Astrantia. I’d heard of Astrantia and seen the pictures in the plant books but this was the first time I saw it in the flesh – as it were – and I was bown away by their delicate beauty.
Isn’t it stunning? Fast-forward a little to the Autumn when I decided to plump for an Astrantia plant from the garden centre so I could have one of my very own. This beats having to wait a whole year to see them for one time only for a few moments on a summer afternoon. The plant was in flower when I bought it and it did set seed.
I researched a little on how to germinate Astrantia seed, the consensus was that it wasn’t easy, but I set about keeping the seeds and sowing them over the winter, hoping to have a seed tray of small plants come the following spring. Unfortunately, with all the other seed trays and plants that I had to look after, tending to the Astrantia fell behind somewhat and I paid the price by having a germination ratio of about 1 in 50 seeds. Just like the Strelitzia, out of a whole batch of seeds, only a single one has germinated, and that is now one of the most precious seedlings in the garden.
The parent Astrantia is fine and was potted up with some ferns and placed beside the front door so I can see them every time I come and go. They have such a lovely light and airy quality about them and I’m happy that I can post pictures of my own own Astrantia now, instead of someone else’s.
Mine don’t have the bright pink running through the stems and the green tips are more delicate. I wish I could remember the particular variety of Astrantia I bought. I have the original pot it came in and it will be written on that, I just have to find it in amongst the stacks of pots.
Overall, I have to be honest and say that I prefer the first Astrantia because it’s got such a amazing pink colour bleed. Of course, I am very happy with mine too but I am going to have to do a seed or plant swap at some stage so I can have the ones that I saw first, I don’t think any other Astrantia is going to cut it.
This year, I will be having another go at trying to get Astrantia to germinate, I have far less in the way of seeds and plants to over-winter this time (so far), so I should be able to give more attention and hopefully, be rewarded with a higher germination rate than the lone seedling I managed this year.