From time to time I have my wits about me and collect ripened seed from some of the plants I love to grow. I am able to share seed this year from Nicotiana sylvestris and a species marigold that I adore, Tagetes minuta.
Nicotiana sylvestris is also called the woodland tobacco. It can be grown in full sun or part-shade. This great summer annual has at least two invaluable attributes: the flowers are deliciously fragrant at night and aphids love it. The aphids flock to this species tobacco and get stuck there. All tobacco (and tobacco products) can transmit tobacco mosaic virus to important plants like tomatoes. But this four-footer is a great companion to roses that are often annoyed by aphids. I’ve had good luck sowing the seed once weather is reliably warm and watching the fat round leaves develop. The seed is so tiny it is difficult to put just a few in the soil so a small colony develops. No worries. Here in Winchester, my nicotiana plants survived last winter outside and made such rapid growth in spring they were in bloom almost all summer and fall.
The second seed I am offering is a species marigold, Tagetes minuta.This is not your typical summer marigold. It can get 10 feet tall in my garden and doesn’t flower until about October 15. The foliage is quite filigreed and the leaves are strongly fragrant—enough so the deer get discouraged and move on to less aromatic areas. This plant reseeds readily and the seeds seem to survive here so keep it where you want and pull it up where it’s in the way. In parts of the garden where the 10-foot height would be a problem, I cut it down by two-thirds and it just gets bushier. Still get the deer repelling fragrance. Tiny pale yellow flowers erupt in mid-October.
Once you have these plants you will have all the fresh seed you will ever need. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do !