I haven't done a whole lot in the yard lately - mainly, I've been noticing flowers. Watching them go from buds to flowers to seed pods has left me wanting to know more. I know the basics of pollination, even if I don't remember what each part of the flower is called. (I started studying today) Last fall I did a little seed collecting and this spring I've been planting a lot of seeds, but I've really become interested in the last couple of weeks. I also tried to cross pollinate a couple of my daylilies last year, but I didn't get any seeds from it.
First it was the irises. I watched each one bloom and die, but I think only the water irises have seed pods - maybe the higher pollination rate is due to the water attracting more insects. Last year I was thinking the same thing - I'll collect the seeds and grow some more - but I always have too many of these things - so I don't know what I'll do with the seeds.
I brought home a few lilies from a now-wild area of the neighborhood and they have since formed seed pods. I've collected seeds from most of them, but I don't know when I should plant them. After some research, there are different techniques, depending upon which type and I don't know what these were. I'll spend some time this summer researching and I'll let you know what I find out.
My pitcher plants have been blooming for the last several weeks and I've been really curious about their structure. I could see into them until a few of the "petals" fell off. It appears that they have produced seeds, but most of them have fallen out of the flower. I'm not sure if I want to bother with germinating them - I've heard it takes months - and the plants you can buy at Lowes - I think those are two years old - too much of a commitment for me.
Before I had planted all of my squash, they started blooming - the same with my cucumbers. I didn't have anywhere to put them in the ground, so I just transplanted them into larger pots. As they continued to bloom, I thought I would try to take advantage of this and hand pollinate the flowers. As I started looking at the flowers, they turned out to be all male. This got me wondering about squash flowers, so I read about them in the master gardener's training manual - apparently most of the early flowers on squash are male. So I'll be biding my time until a female flower shows up.
I know you're supposed to be able to grow potatoes from seed as well as from a potato, so when my potatoes began flowering, I held out hope that maybe there might be seed pods when they were done, but no such luck. That's fine - they're very easy to grow from a potato eye. Same goes for water lilies. I've always wondered about getting seed pods out of them. A big problem is that there are so few blooming at the same time in most situations - except for the wild, white cowlilies that you see in ponds and ditches everywhere.
The last plant I want to mention is probably my favorite at the moment, at least as far as pollinating goes - it's the yucca. There's one on my route that I've been watching flower for the past few weeks, knowing any day the landscapers will chop it off, but it hasn't happened yet. I've been doing some research and I think I've figured out how to pollinate it. I'll let you know how it goes.