I love Nelumbo nucifera for a multitude of reasons. Not only is its statuesque form truly iconic but it is a staple edible with a large geographical range from Asia, Iran eastwards to China, Japan and Australia. It is known for its myriad medicinal properties, natural chemicals & removing pollutants from water.
My enchantment with the Sacred Lotus feels very much a coming together, an intertwining of Dhamma & Horticulture. For the Sacred Lotus has many connections with ancient religions too (including Hinduism & Buddhism). Furnishing them with symbols for the mother goddess, purification & reincarnation. It is a preternatural plant yet as I have read relatively easy to grow so was delighted when some seeds were gifted to me by my sister Anju enabling me to experiment growing my very first Sacred Lotus.
Lotus seeds have an extremely thick seed coat that keeps water out enabling them to stay viable for hundreds if not thousands of years. One case in point being Sacred Lotus plants grown from 3,000-year-old seed found in a Jomon – era excavation in Japan.
The act of wearing down the seed coat to allow water in is called scarification. Because the seed coat is particularly thick for Nelumbo nucifera seeds I used a metal file (& a lot of elbow grease!) to get through the 3 layers before getting to the yellow embryo.
Place the scarified seeds into a bowl of water so that they swell & start to sprout. The water gets pretty cloudy so it is important to change the water daily to reduce risk of infections.
Now for patience & daily caring to nurture growth into flowering – so watch this space. In the meantime, I would love to hear from fellow Nelumbo nucifera enthusiasts out there – do get in touch.
One of my favourite horticultural tasks during the winter months is sowing seeds giving a helping hand in bringing new plants into life!
Seeds come packaged by nature with their own food supply in the form of endosperm so the first thing to remember is that the compost mix needs to be low nutrient. A good universal seed germinating mix could consist of 50 % coir & 50% perlite or vermiculite to maintain an open structure & to increase water holding capacity in the compost. You could also add in some composted bark for extra structure.
The task – to extract seeds from their protective capsules so that they can be stored in a fridge slowing down their respiration rate & thus prolong viability for sowing in the New Year. The experience of doing this simple task required mindful patience that revealed a profoundly remarkable sense of how sophisticated seeds truly are. Seemingly specks of dust are cosmic ‘micro chips’ ‘powerhouses’ of growth technology encased in sophisticated capsules that man can only try to imitate.
Reminding me of William Shakespeare’s quote –
In Nature’s infinite book of secrecy, a little I can read.
Lycopodiaceae spores on a leaf from the Club Moss family.
Herbaceous Perennials are not demanding plants, but trimming them after flowering finishes in late autumn/early winter helps improve their appearance and flowering. However, some stems can be left over winter to provide homes & food for wildlife, & then trimmed back in spring.