Six on Saturday – February 10

Here are my six in the garden for today. Be sure to check out The Propagator for the source of this meme and links to all the “Six on Saturday” posts from other contributors.

1. Propagation Progress

After a number of failed attempts, I’ve finally had some success with propagating cuttings of Melianthus major. The setup I used was rather makeshift, but it seems to have done the job. I don’t want to proclaim total success just yet, but it’s looking good. After removing most of the leaves and cutting the shoot just below a leaf node, I doused the shoot with rooting powder and inserted it into a lidded plastic sushi container filled with vermiculite. There was no drainage, but I was careful with the watering. After some time had elapsed, I noticed that there was new top growth. This was real progress for me, as nothing like this happened on my previous attempts. After more time had elapsed, I decided to try potting up the shoot. Without drainage holes, it wasn’t really possible to see any roots but I did re-read The Propagator’s post: “Softwood cuttings – potting on“. I must confess that I blithely skipped past the warning issued in the very first paragraph of that post:

I recently decanted some softwood cuttings that looked like they had rooted judging solely by some nice new top growth. In doing so I broke my newly acquired golden rule, namely don’t do this until lots of roots are apparent at the bottom of the pot.  I convinced myself that new top growth must mean new roots . . . in short, I got away with it. While there was the odd stem with no roots, most had a good set, certainly enough to pot on.

When I removed the shoot from its vermiculite nest, there were a few root-like appendages. Hmm. Well, if The Propagator got away with it, maybe I will, too. I proceeded with pot filling, finger wiggling and insertion of the cutting, as instructed. Then, I got worried that the new environment wasn’t moist enough, but I didn’t want it too moist, as most of my failed attempts involved the development of furry white balls of mold*  and the subsequent demise of the cuttings. My (makeshift) solution was to balance a pudding container over the cutting. That was three days ago, and so far, so good. Wish me luck.

* Did you know that there are over 100,000 different types of mold?

2. Iris reticulata

Spring really must be on the way. Several of these jewel-like Irises are blooming in a pot along a south facing wall of the house. These are closer to purple than blue, but a joy to behold nevertheless, with intricate patterning on their falls.

Iris reticulata

3. Corsican Hellebore, Again

There are more flower buds on the Corsican Hellebore. I’ve included a photo that really shows off the leaves, which are often described as “leathery”.

4. Sedum spectable ‘Autumn Joy’

It’s a joy to see perennial plants returning in the springtime. Even the hardiest of plants can cause a gardener to worry if they don’t appear when expected. This one is right on time.


4. New Growth on Rose Bushes

One of the most exciting springtime sights is new growth on shrubs and trees. Here are a Rugosa rose and Rose ‘Summer Song’.

5. More Crocuses and Snowdrops

It seems that more of the delightful little crocuses and snowdrops are appearing every day.

6. Clematis ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’

There’s new growth on Clematis ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’, as well. The flowers of this Clematis are white, and fully double. They start off greenish and then turn to a bright white.