I am not one to count my chickens before they’re hatched but… In January I sowed some seeds of Mertensia maritima and I have four seedlings! In case the name doesn’t mean much to you, the common name of the plant is oyster plant. I had not eaten it till a year ago or so when I had a single leaf put on a rather pretentious meal. I have never eaten an oyster and have no intention of ever eating one – how hungry was the first person that cracked open a shell and thought that the contents looked like food! – but I was amazed by the ‘sea’ taste of the leaf. So I was determined to try to grow it.
It is a plant that inhabits seaside places around the northern continents and is native to Ireland, primarily the north. It is related to pulmonaria and borage but is hairless and a fleshy, rather succulent plant with grey-blue leaves and blue flowers. It needs well-drained soil that is not too organic. So this will be a challenge to grow and will go in a raised bed, once the lockdown is over and I can get the raised beds made. It would also make a nice plant for a pot in sun.
I am excited because the seeds can be tricky to germinate and need sowing early so the imbibed seeds are exposed to cold. Mine were sown at ambient temperature in a cold greenhouse, kept moist and covered in perlite – I was not sure if they needed light. I will transplant these four carefully and keep the pot in case more germinate later. It would make sense if I put the pot in the fridge to chill the seeds for a few weeks before bringing them back into the warmth.