Ordered Seed from Pine Knot Farms Today

mikeybobMay 20, 2005

They are selling hand pollinated seed in packs of 50 seeds for $5, and also doubles in packs of 5 seeds for $5. Plus $5 for shipping.

I was told that they are gathering seed now and that they will only sell it for the next few weeks. The number is 434-252-1990.

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claysoil(z6 PA)

Thanks MikeyBob, just ordered some seed. The 50 for 5$ can't be beat, but they are mixed. Guess it is plant and wait 3 years to see what ya got.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 10:35AM
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claysoil(z6 PA)

My seeds arrived yesterday...in a regular envelope! A few are smashed. Had to laugh because I have seen so many threads about NOT sending seeds in regular envelopes. Well, the folks at PK say they are not in the seed business. Guess so! Still, I'd pay another buck if they'd put it in a padded envelope!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 4:45PM
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Hmmm ... I'm still waiting on mine ... I don't mind if a few seeds are damaged ... but I ordered some doubles at a dollar a seed and that's got me a little concerned.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 7:50PM
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Got mine, a hundred singles and ten doubles, none damaged.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2005 at 10:22AM
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claysoil(z6 PA)

If you are willing to pay a dollar a seed, have you tried Elizabeth Town seed? With postage, my ordered worked out to 50 cents a seed. They offer doubles in different colors. PK is a good deal in their mixed seed, but you don't have any idea what you are getting.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 12:49PM
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jgwoodard(USDA z7 TN)

one of the fascinating parts of hellebore culture is how you never know what you're getting until 3 or 4 years later, yet people are still willing to pay interesting rates for unconfirmed seed. so far the seedlings I've grown from E Town have been somewhat disappointing. I will be able to probably see the first pine knot seedlings bloom next year or so. I only bought the mixed since at that time it was the only option.... and since i did not thin and transplant them in their first two seasons they are a bit behind what they would have been.
I am also growing ashwood seed and seed from other sources (such as from gisella schmiemann, etc...). it will be interesting to compare the results. many places now claim to offer hand-pollinated seed and to have great plants.
i hope that others will post results here when their plants bloom so we can once and for all get an idea of whether it is really possible to mass produce hand-pollinated seed and have good results. at this point i am very skeptical but still hopeful. hellebore genetics are too mixed for me to pay a dollar per seed. i'd rather buy a blooming double plant and pollinate it myself under controlled conditions.
still, it's interesting and encouraging to see so many people willing to pay for hellebore seed and grow it on for years. maybe we will learn something through the process.
hopefully in the next year many will post their results.... for example many people ordered from elizabeth town a few years back and should be getting first results. yet, i'm only aware of a couple of people's results. so far it has not been very encouraging. many of the plants are typical at best, and many from the double batches have not produced doubles (certainly they are not "coming true" at 80-90%, etc...). and the ones that are double are extremely variable... some quite ugly really. :)
it is fun to grow from seed and there are always pleasant and unpleasant surprises. i believe the best deal still may be the ashwood seed because from what i can tell, they likely produce the best hybrids in the world in terms of genetic stability and range of color patterns and saturations, etc (at least outside japan where much of the work is done in labs, and the genetic material is mostly from europe and australia and seed mostly inaccessible for now). i think E Town's best offerings are its doubles (e.g. mrs. betty ranicar is still hard to beat) but they clearly don't have the range or quality that ashwood has. pine knot uses ashwood material and has for years, so it is a good bet too.
i've certainly been happy with the plants i purchased from pine knot, but having been there i know the majority are not plants that i would want... perhaps 30-40% are what i would call "good" or better. of course it's one of the only places in that part of the country to get high quality plants. still pays to buy a plant in bloom if possible and to know something about its provenance and lineage.
for those who would be happy with any hybrid that is decent, i understand that these concerns are of little value, but in such cases it would of course not be necessary to pay such prices.
i hope that other consumers will become interested for the sake of increasing transparency between producers and consumers. i believe there are quite a few ripoffs these days as hellebore popularity has grown so dramatically and many gardeners aren't aware of the difference between really elite plants and more typical ones.
for anyone interested, an interesting discussion about the topic can be found below.

Here is a link that might be useful: hellebore seed prices

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 1:16AM
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To me, the mixed genetics are half the fun. I just don't get the same kick out of growing seeds which are too predictable.

I bought ten seeds for ten dollars. Yes, that's steep even for doubles. And I've bought seed much cheaper. But I have some Phedar doubles (just sprouting) and I wanted some PKF doubles too. Actually, I don't even like doubles that much, but I like the diverse genetics.

I suppose if I lived close to PKF that I might try to go there in the spring when they first open, on their "hellebore day" ... maybe I could get something I really like before they were picked over. But it's about a six hour round trip from here.

I figure that out of the my ten dollar investment that I will probably get one or two "keepers" ... and who knows, I might even end up with something really special.

I don't remember why I haven't ordered from ET, but instead I have ordered from Chiltern and Phedar and now PKF.

I also bought some Sunshine Strain seedlings last year and one of them flowered this spring. It was a nice color and all, but what surprised me was that the flowers face up and out. I wonder what percentage of these strains like sunshine and PKF will have flowers that face up? I think that's a real improvement over my older plants which have the flowers facing down.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 11:38AM
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jgwoodard(USDA z7 TN)

i'm with you mikeybob. i like getting as much genetic variety as possible. you're right, surprises are half the fun. i just know some people actually think that when they purchase a seed from a double parent they will get a nice double flower.

did you happen to order the 'insomnia doubles' from phedar? those have gotten great responses and the pictures i've seen from japanese sites are quite nice. i used to not like doubles but they've grown on me recently. i guess it's inevitable when you love hellebores.

interesting about the sunshine plant. it will be interesting to see to what extent it does that in the future. i have many plants that have outfacing blooms. it does make it easier to see the interior. often they start upfacing as they open and then face outward as the blooms age.

anyway, i like your attitude and the thought that from your investment you might get a keeper. sometimes i can get too analytical i suppose. :-) such is the joy and frustration of mixed genetics.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 9:56PM
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jgwoodard(USDA z7 TN)

oh, and when i said 30-40% were good or better, keep in mind that others might think that 90% are great. to me, having 30-40% good plants makes an outstanding place. i've oredered from them many times and continue to. it's my favorite hellebore place. i'm just looking for very narrow categories at times because i have some directions in mind for what i'd like to see in a hybrid hellebore.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 10:04PM
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I didn't get "insomnia doubles", and I'm not sure if they were in the "mixed doubles" seed that I got.

Personally, I'm not really looking for anything specific, I'm just feeling lucky and trying to get a bunch of seeds started with the notion that I will end up with a few good plants. Then I suppose I will want to take those few plants and cross them with other plants with specific traits, but for now I just want to see what comes up.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 3:42PM
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slinkygirl78(7 southern MD)

hi there, i am interested in the seeds... are they still available? are they difficult to raise? i guess I can call and find out, but it's good to talk to "real" people too rather than just anyone who wants yo' money!!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 4:17PM
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I think the seed season may be over at PKF but you can get seeds from other places (chiltern, phedar, elizabeth town, ebay), or, if you aren't after anything specific but just want hellebores, you can probably get seeds or seedlings on the plants exchange forum).

I'd say they are easy to grow but the seeds can take a long time to sprout ... I expect the ones I just planted in June to come up in March/April.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 10:36AM
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jgwoodard(USDA z7 TN)

hi slinkygirl78. if you're interested in seedlings (it would save you a year or more waiting), send me your address asap (i'll be headed back to korea in a week).

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 11:27PM
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