Kate Hardy

Make your garden thrive for free!

Kate Hardy

Karen Murphy explains how easy and rewarding it is to take cuttings of your favourite plants for next spring

Sometimes by late summer, a lot of the hard work in the garden has been done and we gardeners are looking for something to amuse ourselves. That’s not to say there isn’t an never-ending list of ‘chores’ to get on with, such as watering, deadheading and a bit of late summer trimming, but on the whole we can relax and enjoy the garden, pottering about and trying new projects.

That’s where cuttings come in – semi-ripe cuttings are those taken at the end of the season from this year’s summer growth and are so easy to do, it’s a wonder we’re not all propagating many of our own plants instead of buying fresh ones at the garden centre!

New plants are often very expensive to buy, so indulge in a bit of thriftiness and try growing your own for free – it’s rather satisfying, actually!

Simply choose some of your favourite shrubs, climbers, herbs or other robust garden plants, which you’re proud of and you know you’d like to replicate, or give as gifts. Perhaps the choisya or ceanothus were particularly good this year, or you loved the heavenly smell of jasmine? 

Want to create another little herb garden from scratch? It just involves taking pieces of stem from them now to get growing. Ensure the plant you’re snipping from is healthy to begin with, or you’ll simply transfer disease over to the new plant. Take a 15cm piece of new stem and cut it below a leaf – you’ll have more success if you plant them straight away. Remove lower and upper leaves, leaving four or five on the stem.
   Invest in some hormone- rooting powder to help you and dip the ends liberally in it, moistening them if needed so the powder sticks. Dib holes into well-draining multi-purpose compost and transfer the cuttings into them, firming nicely. Pop them in your greenhouse, water well and wait for rooting. You won’t have to wait too long – it’s been known for summer rose cuttings to take about two months or so to root, in good weather conditions. That’s pretty speedy, but summer cuttings are known for being quicker to get going.

Keep your new plants in the greenhouse, nice and moist and then pot them up when spring comes. 

3 flowers... to sow in your garden now

1 Calendula

Reliable, vivid orange blooms from May onwards. Sow straight into raked, moist soil in full sun.

2 Forget-me-nots

Sow direct where they are to flower in your garden for delightful, little blue flowers
next spring.

3 Cowslips

Sow these into a tray of moist soil. then place in a greenhouse or coldframe and plant out in spring.

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