Well Rooted

DSCN1751It was the end of March that I first had a go at propagating plug plants by rooting cuttings, as described by Which? Gardening. The verbena cuttings were developing roots within 2 or 3 days and the tiny fuchsia cuttings soon after this; by yesterday most of the roots looked like those in the picture, and I have potted them up to establish new plants. It was recommended that the petunia cuttings were placed in soil, ideally with some bottom warmth, but these were a dismal failure and rotted within a few days. As I put the pots on a rack on the Aga I may have been over generous with the bottom heat, so I will try these again once my originals have bulked up a little more. I also intend to take more verbena cuttings and I still have some bacopa and lobelia plugs to deal with too. First impressions are that it was a technique well worth trying.

The little pots of verbena and fuchsia have joined the masses of trays and pots in the greenhouse, all vying for space, and I can now see the benefits of moving seeds started in the house to the greenhouse as soon as conditions allow. The recent weather has meant I have had to keep an eye on temperatures in the greenhouse, leaving the door open during the day and remembering to close it at night, as we have had a day or two when overnight temperatures dipped again to only a few degrees above zero whilst daytime temperatures have reached 40°C! As well as the dahlias and various plant collections from Hayloft that I have been growing on there are zinnia, cosmos, tagetes, sunflower, sweet pea, ipomoea, kale and tomato seedlings, as well as my RHS allocation seeds and now some I am trialling for Which? Gardening. Whew! I have never grown as many seeds at the same time, and am now wondering what stage they will be at when we go away for a few days in May…..

We have been threatened with the odd shower again and although it has been a little overcast today it is still bright and the clouds have been completely void of rain so far. I am having to top the stream up regularly as evaporation from these weeks without precipitation has taken its toll and using only rain water as we found it was the best way to stop blanket weed, but the butt nearest the stream is almost empty and I am doing a lot of fetching and carrying from the other butts distributed about the garden. On these journeys I have been pleased to spy more snakeshead fritillaries coming into flower, these ones naturalised at the edge of the woodland, and the first cowslip flowers breaking through next to a lovely piece of pale purple amethyst.

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7 Responses to Well Rooted

  1. Anna says:

    Sounds as if your greenhouse is bursting at the seams Cathy. It’s a bit of a juggling act at the moment with the changes in temperature. Always a worry when you have to leave your greenhouse untended for a few days but you usually imagine worse case scenarios than what you return home to 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      I know I will not have a 100% success rate with the seeds, but I have already learned lessons from my seed sowing this year- I am just so pleased I got started and am on a roll with it. Re being away, I wouldn’t be as concerned if everything was established – which some won’t be by then

  2. Propagation is both a science and an art, your success will grow. Love the photo of your cowslip. Mine has just started to bloom in the garden. I am raising it to make tea, looking forward to that time anyway.

  3. Well done! Your propagation work is very impressive. I had meant to grow plants from seed in the house this winter but entirely failed to follow through.

  4. Yes, controlling temperature in the grenhouse is quite a challenge…wonder how it will be in my garden this year as last year we had up to 40°C for a couple of days. Probably have to damp down several times a day. Any sign of your Dahlia tubers, Cathy?

    • Cathy says:

      I have read recently that 2 roof vents are recommended for an 8 x 6 greenhouse, so I shall perhaps invest in another. And yes – I noticed shoots on 2 or 3 of the dahlias a week or so ago but there has been too much else to write about (even though I was excited to see them) since then!

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