17 August 2017 - 4:26pm

Time to make more plants for free - taking cuttings

I’ve been taking some cuttings. It’s really satisfying to get more plants from you own garden for free and now is a good time to give it a go. Make sure you find a good healthy plant and try and find a non-flowering shoot if you can, but it’s not crucial, just nip the flower bud out. You need a cutting of around 6 inches or 15 centimetres if you’ve gone metric, cut just below a leaf then strip off most of the lower leaves and pop them into a pot of gritty, well drained compost. If the soil is too heavy they may rot. You can do this with a whole range of plants including geraniums (pelargoniums, a Regal pelargonium pictured), penstemons, rosemary, box, salvia, species roses (not hybrid roses) and lavender. If in doubt try it, you’ve little to lose. Keep them damp and out of bright sunlight and they should root in time for you to put them into individual pots in the autumn to overwinter somewhere sheltered. If they are tender plants such as geraniums and some salvias, they will need to be kept in a warm spot. August and September is a great time to visit gardens. The later summer flowers come into their own and the colour can be really vibrant. For a good show of dahlias, Anglesey Abbey, a National Trust garden just outside Cambridge has a wonderful display. Closer to home Felley Priory has some lovely herbaceous borders that should be looking good all summer. It has an excellent plant nursery and good cake too. But keep your eyes open: Peter and I had a wander around some beautifully kept allotments in Beeston last weekend. The neat rows of vegetables mingled in with dahlias, sweet peas , gently clucking fat hens and yummy soft fruit were a joy to behold. I’m dithering over which bulbs to get this autumn. Now is the time to order them if you want a decent quantity and, as we have a big garden at Charnwood, I usually buy by them wholesale by the hundred. De Jager are our preferred supplier www.dejager.co.uk tel: 01622 840 229 but there are plenty of places to buy. We have a real problem with squirrels here, they love tulip bulbs and the most expensive the more they like to munch them. Tulips shouldn’t be planted til later in the year, unlike daffodils that benefit from an early autumn start. So around October I shall be soaking my new tulips in tonic water containing quinine before planting them good and deep. Its bitter taste does put them off to some extent we find. Since I will be spending between 15 and 20 quid a time for 50 tulips, it’s worth the bother to keep the pesky creatures off them! With squirrels, rabbits, pigeons, slugs, snails, lily beetles, aphids, sawflies and the bloomin dog I sometimes wonder why I bother, there has even been talk of deer recently… Enjoy the rest of the summer, here’s hoping for some gentle night time rain for the garden and some gorgeous sunny days for us!