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Gardening Skills

November 11th, 2015

If you’re an avid gardening, learning to propagate plants through a variety of methods is an important skill to cultivate. Not only will you be able to get plants for free, you can also obtain plants that can be difficult to find in nurseries and greenhouses. By far the easiest way to propagate is through cuttings rooted in water. Some plants root very easily with this method, ivy is a great one to start with.
kenilworth ivy 2
I had Kenilworth Ivy growing in my garden in Ohio and really loved it. It’s a valuable plant to have if you have rock walls, it scrambles along the walls filling in the pockets between the stones, blooming beautifully with tiny purple blooms.
kenilworth ivy 2
My first sighting of this ivy was at Longwood Gardens many years ago. At that time, I didn’t know what it was called, but I remembered it for years. One day I spotted it at a local greenhouse and purchased a plant. When we moved from Ohio, I didn’t bring a cutting with me and I’ve been missing it in my garden ever since.
kenilworth ivy 1
Lucky me, I got a cutting about a month ago and rooted it in water. I planted it in the potager under a cloche for winter protection. I’m looking forwarding to propagating more plants next summer and tucking them in the nooks and crannies of all of my rock walls. I’m so thankful I found this beauty again, and even more thankful I didn’t have to pay a penny for it!

Have you learned how to propagate plants? What’s your favorite propagation method?


August 22nd, 2012

I’m constantly amazed by what plants will do the survive (at least some of them).  If you remember, I purchased some lovely succulents earlier this spring. Whenever I notice that a leaf has fallen off a succulent, I often try to root it. When my ‘Black Knight’ lost a few leaves I scooped them up and brought them in the house. With all that is going on here, I completely forgot about them.

I was just telling Mr Chiots last week that I remember gathering these leaves but I had no idea where they’d ended up. A few days later, I discovered them in a drawer. Amazingly, they had sprouted roots and leaves.

A tiny pot was filled with potting soil and I laid the little plants on top. Hopefully they’ll root and I’ll end up with a nice collection of these beauties! The wonder of plants will never cease to amaze me. We certainly can learn a lot about tenaciousness from our gardens!

Have you ever had surprise propagations like this?

A Different Kind of Packing

August 14th, 2012

Over the past 6 years I’ve been collecting a wide variety of plants of all colors, shapes and sizes, some of them rare, many of them nurtured from tiny seeds. Many of the plants from my collection will be moved to Maine via cuttings, seeds and a few as potted plants.

Over the past month I’ve been taking cuttings of the hydrangeas in my collection that I won’t be digging up. Most of these have been gifts from Mr Chiots. I have close to 30 different varities in my collection, they range from mature shrubs of 10 feet to tiny first year plants with just a few leaves. There are 10 or so that are small enough to be dug up and potted to make the move. The larger ones are moving via cuttings.

I’ve also been saving seeds for a wide variety of plants that have proven themselves to be great specimens. There’s a stunning yellow/green foxglove that is very hardy and quite lovely, as well as a regular tall purple foxglove that has seeded down every year and managed to survive our coldest winters. My black hollyhocks will also travel by seed to Maine, along with a beautiful pink hardy hibiscus. My collection of herbs will be also traveling by seed as well, catnip, greek oregano and a few others.

There’s even a master list of all the plants I want to take so I don’t forget any. Luckily if I do miss any of my favorites I can probably find seeds or plants in Maine, though I’d much rather have a descendant of one of my plants here. My mom has most of the family heirloom plants so I don’t have to worry about getting those this year, I can get starts from her next spring.

There are plenty of plants I wish I could take but can’t. Many of which, I’ve nurtured from tiny cuttings themselves to the grand specimens they are today. My ‘Limelight’ hydrangea is one in particular, I planted it 10 years ago when it was a mere 4 inch tall stick. I’m also sad to be leaving the boxwood hedge I planted last year. Hopefully whoever ends up gardening here in the future will have always dreamed of a box hedge like I did.

Have you ever moved plants from one home to another?  If you could only take one single plant which would it be? 

We Have Roots

December 4th, 2010

I talked about propagating your own plants back this spring and did a little how-to with some photos. Early this summer I got some boxwood cutting from a friend. He has a beautiful old shrub, very mature and in great condition. It does very well in our climate, which can be harsh on certain boxwood varieties. I figured my best chance of getting beautiful boxwood would be to grow my shrubs from cuttings.

I put about 40 cuttings into 3 long trough planters filled with a mixture of sand, perlite and peat moss. I put them back behind the garage where they’d get morning sun and would be protected from the elements. I decided a few weeks ago it was time to check them and sure enough about 15-20 had roots. This was very good because I actually took cuttings a month before you’re supposed to on boxwood and I wasn’t sure they’d root. They’re all tucked away in the cold frame ready for spring planting.

Have you ever propagated shrubs or other plants?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.