In anticipation of next year’s opening for the NGS, one of the other tasks jotted down in my notebook (or probably only just jotted down in my head so far) is beginning to prepare for a plant stall, as the money raised from such a sale can sometimes exceed the proceeds from admission to the garden, whilst the sale of tea and cakes will always make a sizeable contribution too. As I like a semblance of organisation in my crowded greenhouses and random groupings of plants-in-waiting I have invested in a bulk buy of square pots from the same eBay source as my seed tray cells; these work out at only a few pence per pot, an almost negligible sum, although I have been advised to retain a percentage of the proceeds to cover costs. It has been most helpful to talk to other bloggers who have opened their gardens under the same scheme in this respect.
Apart from the cost of pots and compost the actual cost to me of making plants available for sale will also be negligible, other than in terms of time – but the enjoyment to be gained from the process negates the time element! As well as my usual (but slightly belated) autumn sowing for personal use, I aim to sow more perennials than I have previously done, with a view to selling spares – delphinium, poppy, lychnis, knautia so far – and thanks to Brian of Our Garden@19 for his recent seed contribution which will help in this venture.I have raised a few Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ from rooted cuttings before now (some rescued from vases), and have now cut some specifically for the plant table. Inspection of other persicarias showed no non-flowering stems suitable for cutting, apart from Persicaria virginiana ‘Painter’s Palette’ which I hope will root as easily as the Dragon. The Dragon stems shown here have now been potted up.
There are also a few Dragons cut from the edge of the clump waiting to be properly potted up, along with self seeded Geum rivale, hellebore, echinops and fern. Lots of all these available!
Most exciting for me this autumn is my first attempt at potting up stem cuttings directly. A few cuttings taken of penstemon in August had started to root (confession: I kept teasing them out to take a look…) so with greater confidence cuttings were also taken of salvia, prostrate rosemary and Diascia personata, and then, on reading a recent article, root cuttings of phlox. Not strictly root cuttings actually, as the roots I accessed came away with a little piece of stem, but I was able to divide them further whilst leaving some secondary root on each piece. For anyone else who hasn’t tried root or stem cutting do give it a go – I used to think I couldn’t be bothered, but am now an instant convert! Mustn’t count the chickens before they are hatched though, as they may not all root successfully …
Already immersed in this exciting new process, I was therefore delighted to read Christina’s recent post and find a link to propagating sedums – so to complete the hat trick of new experiences there are now leaf cuttings to get excited about as well as the earlier stem and root cuttings!