Sunday, 20 June 2010
Now there's no need to getting the knitting needles out - those of you who have met me know that I am well past childbearing years. The title of this post refers to a most interesting morning I spent towards the end of April at Lodge Lane Nursery, which is my local nursery. The nursery is run by Sue Beesley who won the BBC Gardener Of The Year Competition in 2006. Sue set up the nursery following her competition victory. Adjacent to the nursery is a one and half acre constantly developing cottage garden which opens to the public as a Royal Horticultural Society partner and also under the National Gardens Scheme.
This was the second propagation workshop that I have attended at the nursery. They run three times a year and emphasis varies according to the time of year. The morning started with a chat from Sue about propagation which touched upon not only seed sowing but other techniques including division, basal and stem cuttings and other weird and wonderful ways by which plants reproduce themselves. I liked Sue's advice that if you look carefully at the plants they will tell you what you need to do to propagate them. During this session I decided that my method of dividing plants needs some rethinking after all these years. Sue laid down plants on their side before dividing them which makes it a lot easier than my diving in from the top technique.
After a coffee break and cake we headed out for a quick tour of the nursery's propagating area including the greenhouse where we saw Sue's homemade sand bench. Then time for some hands on stuff in the potting shed where we were able to put the morning's techniques into practise on some plant material. I am unable to lay my hands on my notes at the moment but I am fairly sure that Sue's mix was peat free compost, horticultural sand and vermiculite or perlite. Once we had performed surgery on our victims we watered and labelled them. Those that needed it went into plastic bags with an elastic band secured round them before we took them home. Sue also demonstrated the RHS recommended method of filling a seed tray prior to sowing. Needless to say if I had not been following this method and will probably continue my bad habits. Before the morning finished we had a guided tour of the garden stopping to look at various plants and methods of propagating them.
You can see some of the fruits of my labour above - potentilla atrosanguinea, nepeta 'Six Hills Giant', anthemis 'E.C.Buxton' and a leucanthemum whose label had gone awol. I am pleased to say that nearly two months later they are still alive and now putting on new growth almost before my eyes. All in all a most inspiring, informative and enjoyable morning. I returned to the nursery last week for another workshop - more on that very soon.