New Growth in English Oak and Almond Tree

Some days ago, new buds had developed in my English Oak and Almond Tree seedling. I was especially glad about the Almond seedling, because the leaves had turned quite red due to the amount and heat of the sun on my balcony. Of both species, I only have one, so new leaves means they are still going to live.

I’ve started with new almond seedlings, though. They are still in the soaking phase. Fingers crossed for more little almond trees.


Close-Ups of Leaves


Last week, I got the macro lense I had ordered primarily for my RaspberryPi Camera Module, but it is actually a lense to use with your smart phone. I will have to create some kind of an adapter to use it with the RPi.

So, today I took some amazing (at least I think so) pictures of some of my seedlings:

Some Thoughts about Seeds

Where to get seeds to grow trees from

Risking to state the obvious, I’m just going to say: Don’t buy seeds for trees that either grow in your neighborhood or you can buy fruits of. If you want to try and grow trees from local species, just go on a walk and collect them. If you are into bonsai, you might spot a nice example of an interestingly shaped tree which can inspire you on how to shape your bonsai tree. If you’re more interested in exotic trees, don’t go and buy seeds online. Go to your supermarket and buy the fruit. First of all, you can enjoy the fruit AND you get the seeds which makes it more of a holistic experience (without wanting to sound overly esoteric here). I imagine that when you try to grow trees with children, that it is an interesting experience for them as well to see where the seeds come from and what you can use them for. Obviously, this method only works for fruits, because with nuts the fruit IS the seed. Then just buy/ collect some more (hazelnuts, chestnuts), eat some and use the rest for breeding.

Here’s a table which might help you to find out when which fruit/nut is in season. Green means main season, yellow means low season:

Season Table for Fruits and Nuts

Season Table for Fruits and Nuts

Another argument for using seeds fresh from the fruit is that you might be more successful, i.e. you will have a higher germination rate. I could only compare dwarf pomegranate and pomegranate, because I had dwarf pomegranate seeds in my bonsai starter set and got a fresh pomegranate later, but I think the data speaks for itself (see table below). For some species, using fresh seeds might also have an influence on the germination period. But that would almost literally be comparing apples and pears, because I didn’t have seeds of the same species to compare.

Here are the results of my seeds – germination period of lemons*, pomegranates* and myrtle as well as germination rate.

Latin name
seed or fruit used
no. of seeds germination period germination rate
Dwarf Pomegranate
Punica granatum nana
31 10 to 33 days 23%
Punica granatum
28 9 to 36 days 79%
Citrus x Lemon
fruit (non-organic)
6 5 to 49 days 100%
Citrus x Lemon
fruit (organic)
22 13 to 46 days 88%
Myrtus communis
32 12 to 34 days 31 %

* They might not be done germinating yet, I will adapt the table accordingly, when more seeds germinate. Temperatures above 21°C are highly recommended.

An overview of all seeds I got to germinate successfully can be found here (WIP).


english oak seedling

English Oak (Quercus robur)

With some species, you will find that most texts suggest to use stratification to get them to germinate. As I have just put my medlar seeds into stratification and into soil, I cannot say whether it is really necessary in my experience yet. However, I have tried to get oak (Quercus robur) to germinate without stratification and it worked. I also don’t really believe that it is necessary for medlars, because they are much more common in the Mediterranean than North of the Alps nowadays and I doubt that they get three months of low enough temperatures. Anyway, we will see when my medlar seeds germinate (or not).

Troy Oak?

As I wrote yesterday, I got an acorn from Troy for my small collection of Aegean seeds. When visiting Troy, I had an audio guide which mentioned the oak trees, claiming they were of the species “Troy Oak”. It sounded logical to me.
But then I wanted to make sure and browsed this List of Quercus (Oak) species on Wikipedia double-checking images corresponding to the Latin name.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of my acorn before I planted it, but it was about 4-5 cm long. Its shell had already been broken by the cotyledons (as it seems to be called), so I don’t know whether it was pointed or not. I suspect (or remember from other acorns I saw lying around in Troy), the tip was round.
So it seems to me that my acorn is either of the Quercus pubescens or Quercus macranthera species. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, Quercus pubescens has a subspecies anatolia O. Schwarz, which seems rather fitting.
The Troy Oak or Quercus trojana or Macedonian Oak has very, very small acorns whose seeds are barely 1 cm long (measuring only the exposed part).

I’m no botanist, I rely on the web so far, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

Starting the Blog

Seeds from Turkey

This October, I spent 12 days in Turkey with two friends exploring the Aegean coast and especially the ancient sites. I wanted to bring souvenirs, but as taking potsherds and fossils isn’t allowed, I collected some seeds instead.

From the beach in Gümüşlük, I got three olive seeds, another three from the Asklepeion in Pergamon, an acorn from Troy (more about that one later), a chestnut and some seeds of a fruit, but I don’t know which, from Kaplan Köyu (or Kaplan Villages). I also took an olive twig from near the Temple of Athena in Priene.
The olive seeds I put in my purse, but the other seeds into a plastic bottle with water I could easily carry around with me.
When I arrived back home in Germany, I put all the seeds into water, carefully trying to remember, which olive seeds I got from where.

Bonsai Starter Set

Two or three days ago, I ordered a Bonsai starter set on the internet.

It contains a mini green house, a book about Bonsai, several planters, soil, fertilizer substrate, three bonsai glazed bowls, 23 olive seeds, 33 dwarf pomegranate seeds and 32 myrtle seeds as well as some mimosa seeds (for marketing reasons). The seeds came with instructions of their own and I followed those. It said to water the seeds (with the olive seeds previously having been treated with sand paper) in room-warm water for 12 hours/ overnight/ 24 hours.

It was 28 €, which I for now consider a very good price. We’ll see how many seeds actually germinate…

The Turkish Seeds

Because I considered the acorn and chestnut to be watered sufficiently after at least a week, I already put them into water. It says in the book that acorns should hibernate in sand, but it had already broken its shell when I picked it up in Troy, so I didn’t follow that instruction. Fingers crossed!

The Experimental Setup

I put all seeds into the mini greenhouse and put them under surveillance:

I attached a webcam to the wall, so it can take pictures every 12 hours (for now). Problem is that it needs to be connected to the laptop at all times, which rather limits my range of my using the laptop. I have thought about getting a Raspberry Pi solution, but that would be another project altogether, because my “programming skills” are limited to HTML and CSS.