I meant to post this earlier, but I think there may still be time yet this year if you want to try some wintersowing yourself. What is wintersowing you ask? It’s using the natural freezing/thawing cycles of the weather to break seed dormancy and induce germination in a (more or less) controlled environment.
I want to plant some more exotic trees/bushes but buying them bareroot is rather expensive and most are not even available from a local nursery. If I was interested in a single specimen, that would be one thing – but given the scope of my landscaping project, I want a lot of them and that would get prohibitively expensive very quickly.
You can, however, buy seed fairly cheaply. Unlike annual vegetables though, tree seeds have hard seed coats which need to be broken (called scarification) and a dormancy period which needs to be endured (called stratification). There are rather complex methods for doing so in a very controlled environment, but I’m trying out a quick-and-dirty method of using recycled milk jugs to fashion mini “greenhouses” for the seeds. Cut them in half, drill some drainage holes in the bottom and add moist soil. Plant your seeds into the soil, tape the jug back up and set outside with the cap off. That’s it. In the springtime, when you notice small seedlings sprouting, you can open the jug on warm days and close them back up at nighttime until they’re large enough to be potted up or planted into the ground. That’s the theory anyway, I’ll let you know how it turns out.