Saturday 29 September 2012

Weekend Cuttings

Casino time at Boundary Cottage: will these cuttings root?

In my imaginary sweepstake I predict 53/121 will root
October is a wonderful month to stick cuttings direct into the ground. The soil is warm, has started to wet up and dews are heavy.  Current year shoots are ‘ripe’ and a surprising range of plants can be propagated.

So when does the gambling start? Now: on my own credibility! In nine months time I promise to show you my successes and failures. Some of the cuttings such as hebe, penstemon and phlomis are bankers, some such as cistus and variegated honeysuckle are each way bets and some, such as my variegated Cornus mas, are rank outsiders. The cuttings and my time are free. I insert loads of cuttings to stack the odds. What have I got to lose?

I describe myself as primitive propagator. I use no rooting hormone and do not remove  leaves. Usually 6 to 8 inches long, they are inserted like an iceberg - at least two thirds buried with only their tops showing.

‘Prepared’ cuttings (I have done nothing at all!)
New plants for old: rejuvenating old penstemons, lavender and Erysimum  ‘Bowles Mauve’

The above are examples of plants that sometimes become rather ‘tired’ when old. To rejuvenate them, make a deep slit with the spade and slip in little bundles of young shoots. Only when they have made fine strong plants next year, should you remove the old ones!

Deeply inserted, leaves and all. 

penstemon 12 months later
The above picture was optimistically printed at the time. To find out what really happened go here

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