Presents, seeds and cons? The adventure begins …

Yesterday’s post saw the final packet of seeds bought by my son as a birthday present for me pop through the letterbox. Since he knows that I like to try new plants every year, he went online and chose a selection of unusual, exotic, colourful and fun looking flowers and vegetables. What a great idea! What would an adventurous, but essentially non-gardening, 24yr old select for me to grow?

So, it has been an exciting few weeks, with small padded envelopes, labelled in unintelligible fonts, arriving from places all over the globe. I am now the proud custodian of these beauties:


They all look very interesting. One or two I’ve grown before, a few look like extreme versions of things that I am familiar with, then there are the exotic (where I am going to have to look things up) and then … there are the unbelievable. But I am going to try them all.


I’ve grown cucamelons before, back in 2013. Here is what they looked like –


Bite-sized, slightly lime-flavoured cucumbers. They were nice and crunchy, refreshing and a good addition to the salad. However, I ended up being the only person to eat them. After one sample fruit no-one else touched them again. Nothing wrong with them apparently, just no desire to eat more. In fact, my son can’t remember them at all! Well, maybe it is time to try them again. I’ll give him a plant for his house.

Tomatoes, cucumber and chillis:

‘Lemon Drop’ Hot pepper – looking forward to this one, because I tried ‘Aji Lemon’ chillis this spring and none germinated. Now I get another chance.

Extreme tomatoes:

  • Gigantomo – Wow, fruits up to 1Kg (recorded by specialist growers though. If that is people like Medwyn Williams, I might not be seeing such massive toms).
  • Jersey Devil – another large, but pepper-shaped fruit. Said to be good for sauces.
  • Unlabelled seed from China and therefore deduced to be ‘Purple Cherry’ Tomato from my son’s list. I am reserving judgement on this one, because reviews suggest that the seed may produce straight-forward red cherry toms. We shall see.

Lemon cucumber – Tennis ball-sized, yellow fruits. Good in cool climates.

Exotics – I’ll need to look up how to grow these and hope that I don’t need smokers etc.

Strelitzia reginae – We have one of these in the bathroom (I got it as a tiny, plug plant years ago), but since I abuse it by forgetting to water it all the time, it has never flowered. This was chosen because when we visited La Palma, in the spring, we saw many fine examples of Strelitzia flowering all over the island. So I think he must have enjoyed our trip! The challenge then is to get some going from seed and then flowering.

Anigozanthos manglesii – Red and green Kangaroo Paw. I am really hoping that I can get this one to germinate, because it would be so cool to show off. I might have to check the ones that are growing at Cambridge Botanic gardens though.

The Unbelievable Seeds –


Red Monkey-faced orchids … and these were the unlabelled seeds I received, on the l.h.s. (on the r.h.s. are the possible purple cherry tomatoes):


These seeds were shipped from China via a company call Exotic Plants on Amazon. There were supposed to be growing instructions with the packet, but there weren’t any. The seeds are massive, NOT dust-like as most orchids are. In fact, they look a bit like apple pips. Any ideas what I might grow when I plant them? I googled Monkey-faced orchid seed and the reviews are not good. They range from reported non-germination to unflowering plants with the question ‘how long do I have to wait?’ to accusation of scams.

The final packet is also from China and is for a Rainbow Rose (Dragon rose). So, I looked up Dragon Roses too … and I am not optimistic. Ho-hum.

Anyhow, I shall try them all, but if you don’t hear reports of any developments next year it maybe that I’ve grown triffids and am no more!!!

Have you tried any unusual seeds this year?


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
This entry was posted in Food, Plants, Whimsy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Presents, seeds and cons? The adventure begins …

  1. Those aren’t orchid seeds. Sorry. Dracula species (monkey-faced orchids) have tiny seeds just like all other orchids. Growing them from seed requires sowing on sterile nutrient agar under laboratory conditions.

    • Yes, I had sadly reached that conclusion, but I was wondering whether they are anything worth growing, given that they have come all the way from China. 😦 Thanks for confirming that they aren’t orchids though.

  2. Robbie says:

    You will love lemon cucumbers! Only one I grow and very sweet but remember to pick when young( green stage) or they get a bit too large to eat. What an amazing son to send seeds:-)

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    There is such promise latent in a seed, isn’t there? Personally, I would be suspect of anything coming from China as there is so little oversight there for such things. Scams abound. But it is an adventurous birthday gift and the thought behind it is the best part!

    • Definite promise and I do like to try different things, so it was a really great birthday idea and most will be fun to grow. Of course, for the unlabelled seed it wasn’t clear from the online supplier where the seed was sourced from, (even if my son had thought to look), but I will try to get something to grow and see if I can identify the results.

  4. curioussteph says:

    What a fun birthday present! The only semi unusual seed I tried this year was for tomatillos. I like them in salsa. Tomatillos aren’t unusual really, although I don’t seen them grown much around here (colorado) They are doing very well, although like tomatoes they are maturing very late this year due to our strange weather.

    • Tomatillos are wonderful aren’t they? I grew them for the first time last year and was very pleased with the crop and taste. So I collected the seed and am growing them again, but they are less vigorous and late just like yours.

  5. Tina says:

    What a nice son you have–creative and definitely keeping his mom’s interests at hand. That monkey-faced orchid is adorable; I hope it grows for you!

  6. The dark seeds look like tamarind seeds to me!

  7. Brian Skeys says:

    It was a good and unusual idea for a present especially from a 24year old. You have obviously sown the right seeds there!

  8. Selka says:

    What a great kid gift. I’m going to be looking for firetail seeds, bc I got a start, and I cant get over the fur flowers. It’s a futuristic plant.

  9. Pingback: Six on Saturday – The whole world in my hand … | Frogend dweller's Blog

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