2 July 2012 - 12:45pm

Taking cuttings and details of study day at Charnwood 7 July

Now is a good time of year to take cuttings from many plants. Penstemons are one of the easiest: take out a strong growing non flowering shoot about 4 “ long and cut cleanly below a leaf. Carefully remove the bottom leaves and put several of them around the edge of a pot full of gritty compost to ensure good drainage. Get the pot ready first so you can put them straight in and keep them well watered and misted. If they dry out they won’t grow roots and will shrivel and die. Some folk cover them with a poly bag, but I don’t: I like to keep an eye on them and I find they can soon rot. If they wilt at first don’t panic, they will recover in a couple of days if you look after them. After a few weeks, you should see little white roots coming out of the bottom of the pot. That is the time to grow them on individually until they are big enough to plant out. Many perennials and some shrubs such as lavender, rosemary, hebes and salvias are all worth a try although it will take longer for some shrubs to root so be patient. It is also a good way of making sure you don’t lose your favourite plant over the winter as salvias and penstemons aren’t the hardiest of plants. You can pop a small pot in a sheltered place or in the greenhouse until it is safe for them to emerge in spring. Garden visiting is a great pastime and there are several open nearby over the summer. One of the best local gardens is at 26 Selby Road, West Bridgford. ‘The Small Exotic Garden’ is in the NGS ‘Yellow Book’. From the outside it looks like a typical suburban garden, privet hedge, red brick semi, but don’t be fooled. Walk round the back and you are met with an absolutely perfect jungle, beautifully planted for fantastic foliage effect. Opens 29 July and 5 August 11-4. 17 Main Street, Keyworth is open from 1-5 on 15 July. Quite a different kind of garden and much bigger, it has several different areas to mooch around with lovely beech and yew hedges, a secret rose garden and a spacious orchard at the back. It also has a good plant stall and does teas – good plants and cake, what more could you want on a summer afternoon apart from some decent weather? A bit further afield The University of Nottingham Gardens open on 19 August – 300 acres so lots of variety. My favourite bit is the walled garden, full of exotic planting. Perhaps you can spot my current passion? If you want a garden day out with a difference, I’m doing an informal study day I’m calling ‘Get down to earth with Kate’ on 7 July, 10.30 to 3pm. Come to Charnwood and I will walk with you round the garden, give you tips on what looks good together, how to keep colour going throughout the spring and summer, and answer your questions. Peter (who was a chef in an earlier life) will cook you a delicious 2 course lunch, all for £28. Prior booking is needed so please ring me or send me an email if you are interested and I will give you more details. Check out my website for my blog and pictures of the garden: www.katescuttings.net Here’s to some decent summer weather! Picture: Penstemon 'Blackbird' July 2011 Kate Foale 120 Cotgrave Lane, Tollerton kate@katescuttings.net 0115 9375148