Cull when you clip, keep only the best seed sources

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Steven's great uncle liked lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus). We think of him every year as we select which lupines we'll allow to set seed. 

While we cut for bouquets: Cull for the best self sowers

You're selecting your future crops whenever you clip cut flowers

and deadhead the annuals and biennials that sow about in a garden.

If you like plants with certain flower color or form, stem length, or other characteristics, leave some flowers on those plants that fit that bill so they will produce seed. Deadhead or remove all the other plants. Over time you'll have more and more of what you want.

Select for the best health, scent, sturdiness, even season of bloom. All of these variables are passed on in seed. For instance, if you allow the earliest blooming plant and the latest blooming plant to set seed, you can develop a community of plants with an extended bloom period.

Steven's great uncle liked lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus). Although the species is not native to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where Axel lived, it is naturalized there so he saw it often in wild places, collected seed from the plants he liked, and sowed them on the hill behind his home. There, we figure he regularly rogued out the colors he didn't like because his hill was an all-blue show of this species that has the potential for every color in the rainbow.

The seed we collected from deep blue-violet lupines on his hill were probably the result of forty years of selection, or more. So in our garden where Axel's lupines live on, in honor of his memory we cull the other colors as they appear.

All three are pretty, but the blue-violet in the middle would have been Axel's choice. We remember him by making it our choice, too.