First a retrospective of 2016.

Spring 2016:

Some annuals from seed, including rudbeckia, nasturtiums, dwarf sunflowers.

Some perennials including helenium which have done pretty well, at least some of them have.  The ones growing near the patio get a lot of run-off from rain on the patio and pots being watered. They like wet conditions so have thrived.  Lots of seed collected this year, more than I can possibly use.

Bunch of veg too, from seed.  Leeks, peas, broadies.  I cheated with most of my veg this year, buying young plants instead.  I like growing the veg, but prefer to focus propagation efforts on the borders.  That said, I picked up a ridiculous amount of veg seeds from my local garden centre for pennies a pack as they were clearing out stock.  Should keep me going for a while…

Autumn 2016:

Bought some perennial plant seeds on ebay from a seller who has some interesting plants in their garden.  They included very useful sowing advice, all nicely packaged up in little envelopes.  Not sure whether it’s a commercial concern or a self-funding hobby – the latter I suspect.  Many of them have erratic germination habits so while some have produced seedlings, many have not yet.  Hoping to see signs of life after the winter. I do have a load of potentilla seedlings doing very nicely from this batch, they will be good strong plants by the spring.  Some salvia and some grass have germinated too.

In the same buying spree as the veg seeds I bought some other seeds too, some annuals, some perennials.  Can’t help myself. Some of those have been sown as well.   Lots of seedlings resulting from that.  Dianthus, veronica, monarda to name a few.

My vagueness about what’s growing and from which batch is part of the reason for starting this blog!

Winter 2016

Read an article about Hardy Plant Society seed exchange.  As the name suggests this group is mad for the perennials.  You don’t have to be a member to participate in the seed exchange, although you do get more seeds and first dibs if you are.  I ordered seeds first then joined as I thought it looked interesting and, ‘cos more plants, right!?  The seed exchange seems pretty well organised and I should get mine in late January next year. The emphasis seems to be on plants which are not common varieties, not available in the typical garden centre/diy shop. You can order up to 20 varieties from a list of hundreds that people have sent in earlier in the year, and you have the option of a random assortment and a lucky-dip pack of leftovers. As a result I think I’ll be receiving getting on for 50 packets of seeds (the quantities will be lower than commercially sold seeds – I hope!), all for the outlay of £7.50 which covers the admin of the seed exchange – the seeds themselves are actually free.  Seriously – free plants!   They also run a plant conversation scheme, the aim of which is to restore to commercial sale varieties which are in danger of disappearing.  Again, free plants!  Happy days.Must remind the current Mrs J that we need a bigger garden…

I bought a few books on abebooks a month ago or so, all very cheap and with free postage.  one is “Creative Propagation: A Growers Guide”.  It’s an old-ish book now, mine is a 1992 edition. I read it front to back like an airport thriller on the beach.  It’s fab.  So informative and another reason for me starting this blog. I had no idea I was using my greenhouse so inefficiently.  More on that in another post.  Among the things it has inspired me to do is to take a tonne of hardwood cuttings from shrubs in the garden.  Cotinus, Cornus, Weigelia, two purple ones, no idea what they are, Elder, a climbing rose and a few more I think.  Not content with that I had a brainwave, I’ll put a “wanted” ad out on our local Freegle board, see if I can raid a local garden for more cuttings. After all, not very interesing to have more of the same shrubs I’ve already got (especially as there isn’t room for them, but that’s a whole other story).   I wasn’t expecting a response to be honest, but I got a handful, including one very local.  I now have a load more set out in pots.  I’ve used mostly grit or horticultural sand and tallish pots – no compost. Some are in the greenhouse, some are outside in a sheltered spot.  Bit of an experiment, will see which do better

So, that was the propagation story for 2016.  Lots of plans for 2017.  I’ll be back!

The Propagator.