Saturday 3 November 2012

Dismantling the Exotic Garden and cuttings not to do

Tuesday 30th
Weather: Time went back an hour this weekend. Cold in the morning, appeared to be frost but it wasn't a proper one yet. As nice a day as you can hope to get this time of year. Not too cold, cloudy, sun throughout most of the day. Light shortening fast though now, dark by 5pm.

We are starting to dismantle the Exotic Garden, it still looked good overall, but some things were starting to struggle and it felt right to put them to rest and relieve them from clutching onto the very last shreds of life.

We took out things like the Cyperus papyrifer, Jacaranda mimosifolia, Cannas. I took out some Canna 'Durban', cut them down to one or two leaves initially. Carefully lifted them out with a fork, cleaned as much soil off them as possible and then put them in a polysterene box, which if deep I lined with a bit of soil. Placed the Cannas in them and cut them down further to 6 or 7 inches. Then I covered it in soil so that it just covered the roots and rhizomes. The soil we used was a dry mix that had 50/50 bark and old soil.  Then we put them in the coolish cellar for storage over winter.

Canna 'Durban' roots covered in polystyrene box

I did some cuttings of Salvia uliginosa. I chose thickish stems but ones that still felt young and flexible and not too woody. I had a lot of material so I could afford to be picky. Unfortunately with something else coming up yesterday I didn't get the cuttings done the same day that they were cut and I should have added more water in the bag that they were placed in and another moist plastic bag to cover it. Or tried to have timed it better to do it on the same day, or left it to cut on the day that I was doing them (if there wasn't a frost warning - as though S. uliginosa is quite hardy they might blacken with any frost). As I realised the next day, they wilt easily, so I had to revive them by soaking the whole plant in water, discard any that didn't perk up and do less than intended, because it is not the best start for a cutting. I kept the cuttings submerged in water too before I was ready to put them in cutting mix (I usually put cuttings in a bit of water anyway to prevent them losing too much water through transpiration). It's best not to use material like this at all, but I just got away with doing a few and will see how it goes.

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