This evening I started the stratification of the 400 hawthorn and 250 rose seeds I've got, to sow this Spring, and plant out in the following Autumn. Backbone of the hedgerow.
The methodology is, put them in a container with damp compost in the fridge, and leave them for two months. This simulates winter, in which seeds will spend a lot of the time in cold wet earth. This breaks down the seed coat, (not sure on the physics of that), and admits moisture to the actual seed. So when you put them in 20C compost on the windowsill in early March, hey presto! most of them should germinate.
I found some alder cones on Onslow Drive a few days ago. I got about 100 seeds from them. But tonight I put them in a jug of water, and... they all floated. Generally, I've found seeds which float are barren, (maybe an F1 parent?) But I'm thinking, trees which grow by water, their seeds might have evolved to float for a bit, carry them downstream? Anyhow, I'll give 'em 48 hours, and if they sink I'll stratify them, too.
I need 400-700 plants for the hedgerow. I've got another 400 or so gorse too. They don't get stratified, the get scarified, (great words, eh?) before sowing, in nearly boiling water, having apparently evolved to be amongst the first plants to make a comeback after a fire.