I love growing plants from seed. When I see my seedlings growing, I get such a charge out it that’s hard to explain. I love growing things from cuttings too. The charge I get out of that is slightly different; I can’t really articulate it. Really, both are little miracles of life.

The garden industy depends on taking cuttings of various types to propagate identical cultivars for commercial sale. Seeds, on the other hand, are variable.

I’m rambling about this because I got a case in point example of seed variability within the commercial garden industry this year. I got seeds of an heirloom variety of pansy called ‘Black King’. As the name implies, the flowers are supposed to be very dark purple, almost black. I didn’t need a whole lot of plants, so I only sowed a few seeds; I now have five plants in bloom.

Interestingly, the bloom on the plants are slightly different. Most looks exactly as described: an incredibly deep, rich, velvety purple with a yellow eye. But there’s one that’s a lighter purple, which a white picotee (a white edge on the petals) and a paler underside, and it’s beautiful in its own right. And there’s one that really is almost black; in all my time hunting down black flowers, I’ve never found one that’s such a deep matte black.

Now this is something I really want to preserve by cuttings.