Gardens North http://gardensnorth.com is known for their perennial seed and have worked with many different collectors around the world to provide rare, hardy perennials. They have a few annuals, and of course, just had to buy some:
Solanum laciniatum or Kangaroo Apple - grows 1-3 meters and has showy purple flowers and yellow orange fruit. It is edible from what I've been able to discover for about 6 minutes after it falls on the ground, so we'll just use this as an oddball in pots and in empty spots in the garden.
Solanum purpurescens is a rather mean spirited prickly creature with purple flowers and yellow fruit. Obviously ordered during my beige and prickly phase. It is purple and prickly.
Clematis ochotensis (description from site) "Native to northeast Asia, a beautiful and very hardy species growing at the margins of coniferous and deciduous woods and in thickets, often on rocky soil. Above mat-green ternate leaves, purple-coloured petioles end in nodding flowers with wide, deeply-cut tepals. Seed is from an exceptionally good, rich-purple-blue clone." How could I not buy this seed?
Raymond myconii "This african violet relative is a beautiful plant native to the eastern Pyrenees. Leaves are large, ovate, wrinkled and dark-green forming a low rosette. Lavender-blue flowers on short stems in late spring to summer. For shady rock crevices in humousy soil. As always: very limited. Germination Instructions: Easy, warm germinator." The chance to grow an African violet native in my frosty yard was entirely too tempting - again, had to have it.
Helleborus hyb. Woodland Mix - no explanation necessary - all Hellebores are welcome in my garden. Although it looks as if there will be a bit of fussing to get good germination. "Transfer to a deep pot. Keep outside watered until after first frost. Then put pot in a cool place (no freezing(garage?). Watch for germination. (Am looking forward to climbing around Kevin's car in the garage next winter) Once it starts, bring inside. Continue to keep in the coolest spot available until germination seems complete. (Hmmmmm?) Transplant and grow under lights all winter." Will let you know how I make out.
Angeleca ursina Anything that has bear in the name, has to be good, right? Here's the description: "Native to the far east (Kamchatka, Sakhalin and southern Kuril Islands) and northern Japan growing along streams and in forest clearings. A spectacular, huge perennial species with luxuriant dark-green foliage. An unusually thick stem holds very large compound umbels of white flowers in high summer to early fall." I rest my case.
Trees: Acer sieboldianum There was a chap in our Hort Society who still grew Peonies from seed when he was in his 80s - so I figure I'm still good for a tree or two. This one is a lovely small Japanese type Maple.
Cephalotaxus harringtonia - Japanese plum yew - it looked interesting in the photograph. However, I see that germination is "quite extended occuring over a 2-4 year period" My only quibble with long germinators is that the squirrels seem to take an interest just as things start to get going - the worst incident of mass destruction involved 36 cardiocrinum grown from seed that were descimated by squirrels in year 3....a sad day in the garden.