Posts Tagged ‘Propagating’

Survival of the fittest

Having a few different varieties of Salvia in the garden, and not entirely confident that they will be hardy enough to see through the winter should it be similar to the last, I have taken cuttings from all of them in the hope that should the parent plant succumb to an ill wind, I will at least (I hope, reaching for wood to touch as I write) have plenty of small plants to bring on and plant out next year.

So here are the little ones, potted in a mixture of quite fibrous compost with plenty of perlite and topped off with potting grit to help keep the moisture in:

Saliva and Eupatorium maculatum cuttings

I also came across some Eupatorium maculatum ‘Purple Bush’ at a local nursery that were on sale so I had to buy a couple (according to the label they were from Piet Oudolf’s nursery).  They are fine looking plants already so I am hoping that by getting them settled in the ground now they will perform well next year.  I also decided that it wouldn’t hurt to take a few cuttings from these in the hope that I can dot them elsewhere in the garden.

A really lovely colour flower but the photo doesn't do it justice

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Raised beds, borders, and green seed

As the daylight hours are getting longer I have the opportunity of doing a spot of gardening once I arrive home from work.  Today I had the added bonus of leaving work early and so was able to spend a good couple of hours tackling a job that I started at the weekend: building another raised bed. 

We have 6 large beds and 2 small beds and these are used exclusively by my wife, Katherine (some of you may know her as Florist in the Forest) to grow cut flowers.  At the moment it seems like we can’t build enough beds, or build them fast enough, to ensure that we have the necessary space to plant all of the plants that are growing in pots and seed trays but that will soon need planting out.

Building another raised bed; all the turf lifted by sundown.

Now that the turf is lifted, the next job will be to rotavate the soil, add some more topsoil and compost (this will either be mushroom compost that has been sitting around for quite some time or well rotted horse manure) then get the actual boards in place. 

I’ve also lifted some paving from an area next to the house in order to extend the size of the border that we have there.  I think that Katherine is eyeing up this area for more cut flowers but I am determined to retain this patch for purely ornamental purposes.  The earth here is very compact and is going to require plenty of work and added nutrients before it is fit for planting.

Having lifted a number of paving slabs, I'm looking forward to cultivating the soil and getting in some new plants

We have plenty of primula vulgaris in the garden, and I intend to propagate from this by sowing green seed.  As ever, Carol Klein is the lady to turn to for advice on propagation and green seed should be sown as follows: 

1 Fill a seed tray with good seed compost and firm down.

2 Take off a whole seed pod, starting with the fattest at the base of the flower stem.

3 Carefully open the seed pod from the top using fingernails or a sharp knife.

4 Peel back the capsule covering to expose the green seeds and gently scrape off the seeds on to the surface of the compost.

5 Distribute the seed evenly over the surface. This is sometimes tricky because the seed is sticky.

6 Cover the surface of the compost with sharp grit.

7 Place the tray in a container of shallow water until the surface of the grit becomes wet, then remove and put outside in a shady place.

There are accompanying images which can be viewed by accessing the article (printed way back in 2002) via the Telegraph gardening section.

For me this simple Primrose is the best of them all; I’m not a fan of the various gaudy colours available at garden centres. This Primrose, nestled against the base of a tree trunk, is beauty without ostentation; quite wonderful.

The beautiful primula vulgaris

 

Finally, and this goes out especially to Dave, Alliums. How do they compare?

Just waiting for those umbels!

So this weekend will be one of hard labour I think; but it will all be worth it come the summer.

Propagation – growing my own garden

This year I intend to propagate as much as possible. I have dabbled with propagation in previous years but only ever on a minor scale. Three years ago I took a cutting from one of my favourite roses, Geoff Hamilton, and this has since grown into a sturdy little bush. This year I’m hoping that it will really take off and be another lovely addition to a garden in which there will always be room for another rose.

Last autumn I collected seeds from a variety of Delphinium and from Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Cream’. I sowed the seeds immediately and then placed them in a cold frame. The result is a good number of small plants that are growing well. I’ll probably pot these on and then plant them out later in the year once they are better established.

These few small experiments in propagation have really given my the desire to do more (there have been failures, such as a honeysuckle cutting I took last year that didn’t survive the winter, but these only spur me on to make sure I get it right next time). It is so satisfying to see the seeds or cuttings that you’ve tended to coming on and bringing new life into the garden. It is also great to be able to share plants with other people where you have an excess (and hopefully get something new back in return!).

So this year (I hope) is the year that I really get to grips with propagation. Wish me luck!

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