A dozen packets of assorted and intriguing seed were recently donated to the garden, most of which the supplier recommends are sown in spring. I am by nature an impatient soul and holding back from sowing this box of delights amounts to torture. This was alleviated in part by the sole packet which stated “can be sown at any time of year”. Now we are talking, this is my kind of seed. It was, however, recommended that they were soaked in water for 24 hours to aid germination. I can live with that, I can wait a whole day. So I tipped the contents into my palm and was thrilled, but somewhat shocked (I have led a sheltered life), to find these bearded curiosities. They are the seed of Strelitzia reginae or Bird of Paradise, a South African native whose flowers mimic the head of an exotic bird. These blooms provide a convenient perch for the tropical sunbirds who feed on their nectar and in return act as pollinator. Of course we will have to train up the local bird population, auditions will be necessary, my money is on the robin.