I have spent quite a bit of time collecting seed this fall from a variety of my more unusual plants. These include plants I want a lot more of, plants I wish to sell or give to friends, or plants that I see a particular specimen has looked a bit more interesting than its cohorts of its species in my garden.
Last year I grew a cleome from seed. One of the plants seem to be bulkier, the first to germinate, yet never grew as tall. I collected seed from it and planted them this year. In turn its offspring yielded some plants with these same characteristics.
Cleomes like it hot and dry. The weather in central Wisconsin was far from cleome weather. We had the coldest June on record, the second coldest July, the wettest September, the driest October. You get the idea. The results with my cleome were far from ideal, yet I could tell this plant was quick to branch and never grew ungainly tall. Although it did flower and set seed, its flower show wasn't the specacular one for which I had hoped. I will collect seed again this year and hope for the best.
The other seed I have collected this year includes rattlesnake master, chelone glabra, liatris, ligularia 'Desdemona', heuchera 'Palace Purple', ligularia 'The Rocket', gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', an incredible peach Japanese tree peony, nicotiana 'Tinkerbelle', seed from some of my nicer open pollinated daylilies, a particularly well-branched and bushy hyssop, and a echiacea 'Magnus' with a flower which was easily 6" wide and very open and flat among others.
Many of these I will winter sow. This is a great method to grow plants from seed without obsessing over temperatures, moisture, and fungicides. For those of you unfamiliar with winter sowing, I incourage you to check out winter sowing in your particular zone at http://www.wintersow.com/.
And as for success with my seed sowing, I'll let you know. It can be exciting as these pictures of daylilies my son hybridized by crossing daylily 'Stella di Oro' with another daylily grown from a packet of daylily seed purchased from Jung's a number of years ago show.