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Saturday, March 27, 2004

More plants for free?

Gardening.About.com has a small, but nice article on propagating more garden plants from those you already own.

I have tried my hand at propagation with some good results. My azaleas, of which I have probably 50 or more individual plants, actually propagate without much help from me at all. Azaleas are well known for their natural ability to "layer". When the limb of the azalea contacts the ground, it will often start to develop roots at that point. All you have to do is snip off the newly rooted portion and pot it up. Nothing could be easier. You can also assist this process by wrapping damp soil around an existing stem and covering it with plastic wrap. Eventually, the stem will develop roots. This Google search turns up a wide variety of layering information.

A few years ago, I took some cuttings from my rosemary plant and rooted them in potting soil. About half of the cuttings took, even though I was lazy and didn't even take the time to go out and buy rooting hormone. I am about ready to do another batch of cuttings in order to start some rosemary topiaries.

Here are some links to previous discussions about propagation in the garden:

AGN Blog Entry - May 12, 2002

Divide and Conquer - September 12, 1999

Anachronism - August 8, 1999

Also, here is an interesting book on plant propagation:

Making More Plants: The Science, Art and Joy of Propagation by Ken Druse

Friday, March 26, 2004

Rhaphiolepis and Bankside Roses

This week the 2 tiny Bankside Roses I planted last Fall are growing like crazy and putting off a few, small, yellow flowers. It is good to see them getting going. I was wondering if they were going to take where they were.

The geometric plantings of Rhaphiolepis indica area are starting to bloom. They get this nice covering of bright pink flowers all over. Most everything that flowers in the front has pink blooms - the azaleas and roses, as well. Makes quite a show from early Spring through early Summer.

After the heat arrives, the garden goes somewhat dormant. There is a lot of leaf growth, but not much blooming.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Falling into Spring

On our daily walk, we came across a neighbor slowly dismantling a large tree limb with a chain saw. Sometime overnight, a large limb split from the top of his large Elm tree and landed in the front yard. Luckily, it did not hit his house and narrowly avoided a car parked on the street.

Many of the older trees in this neighborhood, ours included have suffered some form of neglect over the years. I would guess that a trained arborist has never looked at most of them. The quality of tree maintenance companies vary widely and I seen more examples of bad pruning than I care to think about. We have spent the last 8 years trying to bring all our trees back into some healthy form, after having been neglected for many years. Even so, there is only so much you can do with an older tree.

In talking with the neighbor, it seems another branch, lower down and even larger, was taken off this tree a year or so ago. It had offered some warning that it was about to fail, though, drooping slowly and showing cracks along its length, and he was able to remove it before it failed completely.

A quick inspection of the limb, and the scar on the trunk, didn't seem to show any major rot or disease. The Elms started adding their leaves only about a week ago, so I wonder if the added weight was a contributing factor. We haven't had any high winds for about 2 weeks, but it is possible that it was damaged back then and only no completely failed.

This is a timely reminder to have your larger trees inspected on a regular basis and keep them pruned in a manner that keeps them healthy and stable. You don't want a limb this large, or worse yet, an entire tree, landing on your house or car.

I also found one oddity on the fallen limb. There was one section where a lower limb had been pruned and another sprout formed. THis sprout somehow merged with another branch slightly higher on the tree. This created a large rectangle of out of the 2 limbs and the main limb. I am not sure how they could have joined up so well. Any ideas from the readers?

You can see a few pictures of the tree and limb by clicking on the photo above.

Monday, March 22, 2004

I saw today that Jane Perrone at Horticultural has linked to AGN. Thanks Jane!

I am always amazed at the great garden sites that are out there. I have also added the Horticultural RSS feed to my list of subscriptions so I can keep up with what is going on in Jane's garden.