The seed-collector’s dilemma: Memory

Well, I just dumped out my pocketbook (looking for car keys) and several dozen small round black seeds fell onto the desk. Hmmm. I wonder where those came from. Was it that small shrub down in Liberia or that orange Victoria Torleyflowered one at the restaurant?  I never remember.

Seed collecting is a sort of second hobby for every gardener. We wrap them in a piece of Kleenex or a napkin from the restaurant where we had lunch. Never seem to have a pen to scribble down what they are. Actually, we have no idea what the plant is. It’s more like a, “Look at that (flower/plant/shrub/tree) – what a great color. And look, seeds!” kind of thing. We tuck the little package of seeds in a pocket or purse and they completely disappear.

We have good intentions, really. We intend to put the seeds in some good soil when we get home but things get rushed. The next time we see the seeds, they have been through the washer and dryer. Nothing sprouts after that kind of treatment.

But suppose, just suppose, that you remember to take the wrapped seeds out of pocket (or wherever) and put them in the ground or even a pot. What then? If you are like me, you forget to put a note on the pot of what they are or where they came from. Or you do, but the sun bleaches out the note, or you mix up a couple different pots. The only thing to do is wait until the seeds sprout and give you something to work with. It is now “name that leaf” time. Have you looked around at all the different trees and shrubs that have a mimosa-like leaf? Confusing isn’t it? Some turn into 10 meter trees and some stay as shrubs. Put one in the wrong place, and you have a problem.

Sometimes I think I should take a hint from all those crime shows on TV, the ones where everybody carries a bunch of evidence bags to the scene of the crime. Little sandwich baggies would be good and a nice marking pen, but will I remember to do that? That kind of organization is usually beyond me, but, if I hurry out now, while I am thinking about it, I could put baggies in the car, maybe even a pen. Will I remember where I put them when the time comes? Probably not . . . .

But it’s a good plan.

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