Saturday, February 13, 2010

Matthiola incana 'Vintage White' seeds: a promise of a fragrant summer!

[Photo: Matthiola incana Vintage White seeds with a toonie for scale.]I've grown Matthiola incana (stocks, giroflée) in the past from bedding plants (here's a pretty picture of 'Midget Lavender' from 2007), but this is my first time growing these tender biennials (treated as annuals in Toronto) from seed.

Stocks are not native to North America, and I don't know if they have much wildlife value apart from being a larval host for the cabbage butterfly (Pieris rapae, petit blanc du chou, also not native). But I am a sucker for fragrance, and this flower smells heavenly.

I was pleased to find that the seeds are easy to handle, about the same size and a similar colour to fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum, fenugrec), so much so that I thought they must be closely related (they aren't).

I've picked up a window box cheap at Value Village and I'm planning to fill it up with home-grown sweetly scented stocks outside my bedroom window (along with some Nemophilia menziesii 'Penny Black' (baby black eyes, némophile) for contrast).

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