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VelvetAndroid


Latest posts by VelvetAndroid

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Visiting Malvern Spring Show

Posted: 10/05/2013 at 00:18

Looking forward to hearing what you got up to Lesley — am travelling up there from Cardiff on Saturday, having given the RHS Cardiff show a miss this year in lieu of a first trip to Malvern!

propagation boasts and failures

Posted: 10/05/2013 at 00:16

Err, seem to have waffled on too long and exceeded maximum post length! As I was saying, my grandad always takes cuttings from his plectranthus in summer to keep in the greenhouse for next year. Succeeded in keeping three such cuttings alive myself from first batch attempted last winter, which at least meant I ended up with same number as started with, but didn't plant out until fairly late summer so they didn't get going properly. Since they were still smallish though it did mean I could lift the same ones and shove them in a pit together back in the greenhouse, and they've made it through OK and have just been moved back outside in the same pot to enjoy some sun, rain and fresh air. Obviously are a bit leggier and woodier than new cuttings would have been, but the originals branched well from low down so I'm hopeful some new shoots will come and bush these out a bit if I plant them somewhere sunny soon.

On the other hand, tried taking internodal clematis cutting for first time in Feb, after newly hearing about the technique, which looked fine under bell cloche in pot in greenhouse for several weeks but then abruptly disintegrated last month. Also failed utterly to root cuttings from last year's osteospermums over winter, not to my total surprise I have to say. Took three cuttings from ornamental pink-flowered salvia last month, one of which has bitten the dust already and the other two are looking less than great, shall we say.

Have tried three times now with cornus (dogwood) hardwood cuttings from spring prunings; failed the first time as they got too dry in the soil, but last year accidentally left some for months in an old glass jar of water (they were meant to be keeping fresh 'for a while' to use as peasticks) and they rooted — planted them out later in summer, and they seemed to take but have not lasted this winter. Tried rooting more in water last year, but never got around to planting them and so they stayed there all winter in same glass container, on the ground down by the shed at bottom of garden, freezing solid on several occasions — and somehow eight or ten have come through this alive and I've now stuck them in a pot of compost at last to see how they come along!

Could do with taking cuttings from a leggy heather, but as steephill says it's tough to find non-flowering shoots... Have a small seed tray filled with a couple of dozen inch-high prunings from an alpine hebe that outgrew its tub and got planted out back in the late '90s, and is by now really rather leggy and flopping about over the path a bit, so would be nice to get some replacements going at last — it's one of my original alpines dating back to when I first established a half-barrel planter in 1994, aged 15, so I'm very keen to keep it going one way or the other. If LorraineP has any great tips for propogating hebe, I'd be glad to hear them...?

propagation boasts and failures

Posted: 10/05/2013 at 00:11

Have just apparently succeeded with some hardwood(ish) cuttings of perovskia (Russian sage), to my slight surprise but pleasure, having stuck ten or eleven woody stems about 6" long — taken from pruning two existing plants about a couple of months ago — into a largish (c. 8") pot in the greenhouse and covered it with a plastic bag from the greengrocers, propped up tentpole-style by a stick in the middle. Watered well before I put the bag on then left to its own devices — bag was entirely unperforated so it's stayed damp in there, a proper little microclimate — and merely switched to a clean bag about three weeks ago when I saw the first signs of green through the condensation within. Removed this second bag altogether this week to allow the light and air in better now it's a good deal warmer, and gave it a proper water. Five stems are putting out good green growth, while the others have not done anything but I'm leaving them in place for now as know from experience that perovskia can suddenly surprise you just when you've decided it's dead wood! Managed to root three short stems in a small pot last year, but planted them out too soon and they got swamped by other things, so will leave these to grow on for a good while first seeing as they've got plenty of space. Curiously, only success I've had before is the happy accident that gave two current plants in the first place — inadvertently snapped a stem off the original while transplanting in summer four or five years ago after it got overcrowded in its previous site, and on the off chance just stuck this into the ground as it was and thought no more about it...and of course it rooted next to its parent and took off quite happily! It's amazing how many of the best results come from this sort of thing, or forgetting things entirely ‚ have just discovered that I have a small pot with a cutting of variegated aubretia in the greenhouse, which I've only identified in the past fortnight after it sprang into growth...

Other current successes include seed tray of 30 or so lavender prunings in the greenhouse, taken maybe a month ago and which I've just taken the clear plastic lid off as they all look to have rooted so could now benefit from a less actively humid environment. Got a good load of cuttings from same lavender ('Munstead') last year too without 'hothousing' them in this way, i.e. just in uncovered pots, but think these new ones have probably taken a little more readily with the extra humidity to start with. Planted some out with good success, while a dozen smaller ones were kept in greenhouse over winter and now potted up singly to grow on and give away in a couple of weeks' time.

Both last year and this have taken prunings from santolina (cotton lavender) at the same time as the lavender, start of April, and found they root readily as well in uncovered pots as not great fans of humidity at all. Used similarly small shoot tips to the lavender (maybe 2") last year, but this time am trying to get slightly larger santolina cuttings to root so selected some larger prunings, so have one small tray with nine cuttings about 3" high and another with half a dozen 4" ones. As these are woodier they're not rooting so fast, but showing signs of new growth so I'm reasonably happy so far. Last summer was able to make a nice border for newly laid out bed in sunnyish, dryish and wall-drained front garden, by planting out row of alternating lavender and santolina cuttings from that spring, which grew in together to make a rather lovely silver whole, and are putting on good new growth again now after cutting back a month ago.

Also on the silvery side, had three Plectranthus argentatus from my grandad the year before last, which isn't hardy enough to last the winter outdoors but which he always takes cuttings from in summer to keep

Talkback: Cuckoo spit

Posted: 24/11/2011 at 15:28
Hi Lara, I'm looking up same issue and consensus seems to say they should be fine to eat - after all, the 'spit' is only the sap of the plant it's on, sort of like a Michelin-starred chef's rosemary foam... Hosed it off several times but the nymphs only spume more, so reckon it's counterproductive since logically they'll suck extra sap to re-conceal themselves..?
I'm inclined to just make sure I give it a thorough wash if I pick an affected section of plant, and check no nymph's still attached!
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