Have you ever had this sinking feeling, when you want to try a plant you’ve never grown before, and you look at the beautiful photos on the seed packet, that there is absolutely no way this botanical wonder will ever grow in your garden?

I’m not one to dismiss instinct, it is usually based on a lot of fast logical reasoning and processing of already stored information that goes on in the back of your brain while you’re minding your daily routine, but that doesn’t mean it’s always right. Fortunately for me, it wasn’t this time, because they did sprout, and root, and grow big and strong.

I found out after the fact that Bells of Ireland are among the plants that need to be planted directly outdoors, information which would have served me well last year, before I started them in pods.

The thing about starting plants from seed is that it doesn't matter how many of them you get to germinate, it only matters whether you manage to keep any of them at all. For perennial plants in particular the germination rate is significantly lower than that of annuals, and their seedlings start out weak and fragile and grow very slowly, and you shouldn't place the same expectations on them as you do on tomatoes or marigolds. I had years when not even one little seedling emerged from a full packet of seeds, and yet I tried them again the following spring. In other years, a full tray of seedlings withered to nothing in the weeks that followed, for no reason I could fathom. Usually they give up the ghost once outside, because they can't adjust to being exposed to the weather. Success is sometimes circumstance, sometimes luck, it really doesn't make a lot of difference; if only one out of an entire packet of seeds makes it, you will have that plant in your garden, one you would have had a hard time to find fully grown. I have been fortunate to get quite a few less common perennials, like Canterbury bells, Maltese cross, fringed bleeding hearts, giant delphiniums, and now bells of Ireland.

The only things Irish about these beauties are their color and their name, they are in fact natives of Turkey.

I learned that the plants develop a long tap root, the main reason why they don’t tolerate transplanting, and my reason to hope that their eerie green blossoms will return to the garden even stronger this year. They are supposed to bring good luck.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"; "The Blue Rose Manuscript"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.