“It’s all in the preparation”

I don’t work on Mondays so I was able to join the Surrey group last week for another in their series of propagation workshops, this time on soft-wood cuttings.  It was one of those warm days that keep reminding us that it is summer and 16 group members met in Wendy Bentall’s garden.

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Good preparation is make or break for many tasks and propagation is no exception.  Clare took us through the principles and recommended Alan Toogood as an author to seek out to find out more.

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IMG_0072I won’t try to explain the methods, but will pass on Clare’s tips about good preparation.  Get everything ready before you go out to take cuttings – a plastic bag with a label for each type of plant, a sharp knife and some way of disinfecting it, pots with a suitable cuttings compost – Clare uses one with 80% grit to ensure good drainage and aeration.

Then once you’ve done the cuttings, label each pot – because you won’t remember what it is, even if you think that you will.

Then members demonstrated different techniques – Gill disinfecting her blade with vinegar.

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Internodal cuttings of Clematis

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Sandra doing callus cuttings of Pelargonium

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Best practise suggests that we learn best when we do, so everyone had a go – heel cuttings of Rosemary and tip cuttings of Fuchsia, piping as a technique for Dianthus and simply putting stems into water for Hydrangea and Persicaria.

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At the end of the session we all took away some plants to nurture and hopefully plant up in a few months time and then had time for a tour around Wendy’s lovely garden.

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