Friday, 10 August 2012

Experiments in propagation

I already have more than enough to do and if I was a sensible Hobbit I wouldn't give myself any more work than absolutely necessary.  So moving swiftly on, two very lovely plants in the Cottage Garden have finished flowering and set seed and they are both plants I want more of.

An unnamed lupin which came as a gift from Country Bumpkin has pretty dusky-pink flowers with a yellow base.  Somehow I've not managed to take a photograph but it is definitely a keeper and stands up well to the wind.

The other is Thalictrum aquilegiifolium 'Thundercloud'. This is a plant which doesn't like to be moved so I'm assuming that digging it up to divide the clump wouldn't be a smart thing to do.  It is so pretty that I want lots more around the garden.



According to my RHS propagation book, these plants like their seed to be sown fresh.  With both plants some of the seed is fully mature and has developed a hard coat (brown) and some is still moist and green.  As an experiment I've sown two trays of each plant, one with each type of seed.  I wonder if there will be any difference in germination and plant development?  (And if they all germinate, using 35-cell trays, what the hell will I do with 140 plants?)





A propagation experiment which has turned out to be very successful was the striking of honeysuckle cuttings mid-May.  Four cuttings of Lonicera pericylemen, Graham Thomas were placed in a 50:50 mix of vermiculite & seed compost with a tiny amount of hormone rooting powder.  Covered with a plastic bag and left in the cold frame all four have rooted and I've potted them up.  Tops pinched out to make them bushy, these are lovely plants, very pleased with myself because I haven't done this before.





I've got some similar clematis cuttings waiting to be potted on which also seem to have taken well - this could get addictive!

Earlier in the year I saved fresh seed from the Caltha palustris, Marsh Marigold.  I station-sowed them and kept the trays very moist (cat litter trays are useful greenhouse accessories).  A few have germinated, fingers crossed for more.









22 comments:

  1. Hello Bilbo. I'm so glad to see you doing gardening instead of landscaping and excavating! It's very exciting to be successful with plantings. And I'm continually amazed when it happens.

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    1. Evening FFG, I too am delighted to be engaged in something resembling real gardening rather than construction! Like you, the whole process of sowing seeds amazes me, I was looking at the tiny thalictrum seeds (they're about 1mm long) and thinking "this produces a plant over three feet tall ...." just incredible :}

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  2. It's such an exciting this to do - break off some 'twigs' and turn them into whole new plants. I tried root cuttings from the drumstick primulas I brought back in spring - only one worked but there is a healthy little baby one growing away just from a inch of root. The seeds I saved from another popped up really quick too.

    I may also have a tray full of baby Lupins from saved seed that I'm not sure where I'll actually plant :) I think I read they don't come true from seed (?) but that just makes it more fun to see what colour they turn out!

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    1. Morning Tamsin, you're absolutely right, lupins always don't come true to seed. Wonder what colours I will end up with?

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  3. I wish I had more time for propagating. It`s a lovely thing to do and so rewarding. When we left our previous house I took cuttings from several shrubs and it is good to see them years later, established in this garden.

    I expect your nearest village garden club would be pleased to find homes for a surplus of young plants.

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    1. DW, I find it too easy to make time to take cuttings ro sow seeds - the difficulty is the amount of time over the next few months looking after small plants! Good idea about a garden club, although the only one I know of is really into veggies not flowers.

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  4. Boggling how you discovered the usefulness of cat litter trays for anything but the obvious. Although, to be fair, from the other side (as it were), I have had occasion to use gravel trays for cat...er...litter before now.

    Also join you in boggling about 1mm seed producing a plant 3' tall. My bogglement only increases when the seed is a pea, and it not only grows to 8' tall, but it does this in the space of twelve weeks, producing maybe a hundred pods along the way, every one stuffed with 14 peas or so. That's 1,400 peas from 1, in 3 months. Extraordinary.

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    1. CLT's are also extremely useful in a sewing* room - either for dyeing fabric, for storing WIPs, or for keeping fabric scraps together waiting to be turned into the next project!

      Love your horticultural maths



      * see how I've linked our hobbies, ha ha ha!

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  5. I got inspired by Carol and Monty taking cuttings on Gardener's World and have taken lots lately. Your Thalictrum is a different variety to mine. I seem to have two different ones, one about 3ft tall and one 6ft with really long stamens on the flowers. Both in full flower now with lots of buds still to come. I didn't realise the flowers were different until I photographed them!

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    1. Jill, seeds on their way Monday. Swappsies when yours have finished flowering?

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  6. PS Do you keep the cuttings in the greenhouse or outside? I saw Monty put his in the greenhouse but he mentioned the words 'mist propagator'!

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    1. Cuttings go in the nursery, in a shady spot, plastic baggie over pot as a mini-propagator. Will take some photos of the clematis cuttings later.

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  7. I want to try cuttings from a couple of our clematis - if I get round to it.

    As for excess plants - it's amazing what our plot neighbour sells on EBay!

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    1. I know what you mean Sue, the 'getting round to it' is the hardest bit. Doesn't actually take long to do a couple of pots once you get started though.

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  9. Oh, how exciting to see you've been playing around in the greenhouse/nursery like a regular gardener! LOL Messing with seeds and cuttings. I've every confidence that you're going to end up with dozens (hundreds?) of seedlings/starts very soon. Then, if you're like me, it'll just kill you not to have space for every single one of them. Uh-oh. SOMEone will need more beds! ;-)

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    1. Hi Kris, I know I always sow too many seeds but there are lots of folk around here very glad of my surplus.

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  10. Glad you have enjoyed the lupin - if you want to be sure of getting more of the same, just split the existing one with a spade. That'll be how you ended up with that one in the first place and I can assure you, they get no TLC here. Split in situ and chucked into a pot. You know me well enough to know I don't do fiddly!!!

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    1. Hi CB, I told you when I saw you that the lupin had been terrific :} Trouble is, I want far more of it than I could get by splitting the clump so it's worth having a play with the seeds. BTW, your last 'reject' (the blue geranium) split into three good sized plants and is in the Coppice, thank you.

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  11. What will you do with them all Bilbo? Easy - Open a Garden Centre.

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    1. Sorry WoG, absolutely not under any circumstances, ever. Many years ago in a previous life I turned a hobby into a business. Turned it into a darn successful business too, so successful that I never had time for the hobby and spent all my hours chasing around fulfilling orders so that other people could enjoy the hobby I used to love.

      No way I am going to make that mistake twice :}

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