Some of you may remember that I am trying to grow trees from seed, which is why I have been stratifying seeds in my refrigerator all winter. At the beginning of this month, I planted the first seeds, Flowering Quince and Oregon Grapes, into pots, but I had low expectations that they would actually germinate. Neither species is native to our area, so Henry Koch does not mention them in Growing Trees from Seed, the book that I have been using as my guide. This meant that I had to guess about the length of their stratification period from his recommendations about other similar species, so I knew in advance that successful germination would be the result more of luck than of anything else, and it seemed that my meagre expectations would be confirmed.
The Flowering Quince fared much as I feared they might. There is a single sprout, but it looks decidedly unlike a tree seedling, and I am suspicious that I am growing a weed. I am giving it the benefit of doubt at this point, having never actually seen the seedling of a Flowering Quince, but I feel as though I am probably harbouring in my flower pot the vegetable equivalent of a cuckoo egg.
The Oregon Grapes seemed to be just as unproductive. Actually, they seemed even less productive, since they had not managed to give me even a weed. Yesterday, however, there was a sprout, tipped with the correct seed casing, undeniably the beginning of an Oregon Grape. Today, there was a second sprout. I am as excited as my sons are, who have to be restrained from watering the little plants on an hourly basis. It is almost enough to make me romantic about spring.