When it comes to starting seeds I tend to be very pragmatic, so what governs my thinking on which seeds to spend time and money on is likely different from those who start seeds for the sheer love of growing things or the challenge of it. Gardening is just one of those flexible and forgiving topics oftentimes. If you keep in the general parameters of good advice you are assured of pretty good odds in a successful outcome. We all have our opinions on style and design- but those were made to be broken and proven wrong by some creative soul who had a different vision of what is beautiful.
Back to seeds, though. I do not spend time starting seeds for plants that are readily and cheaply available at planting time. Petunias are one example. Between the smaller growers around here and the big discount places like Home Depot or WalMart… I can find plenty of beautiful Petunias in the colorings I want. The hybrids change with alarming rapidity, anyway. Years ago, I was enamored with “Blue Sails”, but then couldn’t find it. Now I buy blue and deep purple petunias that are available- they usually have the fragrance I am seeking for combining with Lavender. Anything that is easy to grow, such as Nasturtiums or Zinnias are also off the list, they are directly sown into the garden at the appropriate time. This reduces the choices to those things that are economically feasible or difficult to locate in the nurseries. For a few years I lost interest in starting my own, but now it makes more sense since the garden centers are reducing in both number of plants per pack and types available. Some of you might remember the heyday of modern gardening- the eighties. so many fabulous and choice plants for sale in the local nurseries!
I will buy those overpriced annuals in the too large pots if it is something special I want for a container…maybe… but if I plan and start my own seeds I am…dare I say? rolling in clover;)
Considering the expense in buying sterile soil, sterile containers, plant lights, the electricity, the time, etc. some plants are simpler left to commercial growers and bought with savings due to their ability to deal in bulk amounts.