Garden Shed Plant Propagation Update

This year was the first year I've been able to house my cuttings in the garden shed. It's been great so far. There's no heat but the plants have been protected from the coldest of the winter lows. Essentially I've moved them 1-2 heat zones south without having to leave my yard. Here's a look at the garden shed plants:Several hydrangeas are sending up new foliage. Hydrangeas are so easy to root - a great beginning propagator plant.The Japanese maples that were grown from seed overwintered very well. I'll keep them inside the shed until I'm sure they can safely survive outside. I'm concerned about late winter and spring frosts.This lilac cutting was either an offshoot of another plant or a cutting. I can't remember which I took the picture of but either way they are all doing fine right now. Lilac suckers can be removed from the mother plant to…

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Garden Shed February Update

It's been a long while since I've mentioned anything about the goings on in my garden shed world. This should take too long, after all it is February, not much is growing, and it's a small world afterall! Let's dig right in and look to see how things have overwintered!Right now I'm using my shed as a holding area to help shelter my propagated plants. I don't have it heated and I'm not sure that I will - or if I do it won't be much. It stays 10-15 degrees warmer than the outside temperatures on the coldest nights which will allows me to cheat a zone or two with my plants.  Once my vegetable starts get far enough along I'll place them in the shed to harden them off and keep the spring frosts from bipping them. (Bipping is the technical term for when something gets hammered by frosts…

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Propagate Rosemary in Water (The Herbs)

Rosemary is an herb we use frequently in our cooking, at least when we have it around. In years past I've been able to walk out the front door and cut a few sprigs off the large rosemary bushes in front of our steps. Unfortunately that isn't the case anymore. My two main rosemary plants both died due to the extremely cold and extremely long winter we had. They had been in place for about three years and I really liked them as a landscape element as well as a culinary one. But when you are working with living things they can't last forever. Fortunately rosemary is very easy to propagate in water which means that my two plantings in the front will hopefully be replaced very soon. Why Propagate More Rosemary Plants? One of my planting strategies is to make several cuttings and put them in different areas. Every…

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Coral Red Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

Coral Red honeysuckle or Lonicera sempervirens is the honeysuckle you want - I mean really want- not the other kind. You probably have honeysuckle somewhere near you right now. It's white, smells pretty good, and it may even be right behind you as you read this, don't look! It knows you are there, it's waiting to spread and take over everything when you aren't looking - or even when you are it really doesn't matter! That honeysuckle that fills the air with it's heady fragrance isn't from around here. It's an overseas immigrant (from Asia) who is naturalizing itself and pushing out it's American cousin Lonicera sempervirens. Don't encourage the foreign invader, instead plant the native honeysuckle! The only thing it lacks is the fragrance of the foreign flower. Hummingbirds love coral red honeysuckle, it looks great, it's very tame, and isn't hard to propagate if you want more. Don't…

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Preventing Deer Damage to Trees

As you can see from the picture to the left that this tree has taken a beating. Last fall when the deer were out in force a buck decided to rut against several of my favorite trees. Coincidentally all the deer damaged trees were young trees that I had planted in the yard including two maples, a dogwood and one of my personal favorite trees a Yoshino Cherry. I was furious. I contemplated a fairly violent solution but it was all talk in my head. Plotting the demise of the deer was not a pleasant thought process. Instead I turned my panicked mind toward finding a way to repair the damage. At one point I actually tried to graft maple bark onto the maple trees. As it turns out that wasn't necessary. In the end I figured out the best way to repair a deer damaged tree, let Mother Nature…

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What Looks Good with Coreopsis?

You didn't ask but I thought I would tell you anyway, coreopsis looks great with just about everything! Over the last two years I've acquired several types of coreopsis and experimented with it in different combinations and found it plays well by itself and with others. Here are few coreopsis companions from my garden. "Moonbeam" Coreopsis Here on the left is one of our two 'Moonbeam' coreopsis plants beginning to bloom. Even when not in bloom the threadleaf coreopsis plants look cool just because of their feathery, fern-like foliage.  Coreopsis 'Sunfire' and Red Yarrow (Achillea) This is perhaps one of my favorite combinations. This seed raised coreopsis (I believe its a descendant of coreopsis 'Sunfire') blends well with the red of the Paprika yarrow (achillea) next door. These two companions are growing and thriving in the rain garden. Achillea is one of those plants that you can divide and divide…

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Yew Propagation (Taxus x media ‘Densiformis’)

Just recently I checked some cuttings of Densiformis Yew (Taxus x media; also Taxus cuspidata) and found roots! Densiformis Yew is also known as a spreading yew and is a common evergreen shrub in landscape plantings. It makes an attractive foundation planting with its dark green needles. If you have animals fond of chewing on plants avoid planting yews since they are very poisonous. How to Propagate Yew Several weeks ago I took five greenwood cuttings from the yews in the front sidewalk bed. I bought the yews in our first year here from the discount rack for $2 a piece. They had some browning branches at the time but a little trimming was all that was needed to correct that. Since then they've grown fairly rapidly providing me with plenty of good branches for propagating. I took greenwood cuttings about 5-6 inches long and treated them with rooting hormone…

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Coleus Cuttings: Are they the Easiest Cuttings You’ll Ever Root?

If coleus (Solenostemon) is not the easiest plant cutting to root, then it must be ranked at the top of the plant propagator's list right next to the willows. It's such a great foliage plant why not make more? How to Propagate Coleus The procedure is simple, just take a cutting with two leaves and some stem (about 2 inches is good), pinch the terminal growth and put it in water. Now here's the really important part, the most critical part, you have to wait for roots to grow. That's it! No rooting hormone is needed. You could get away with sticking the stem in moist potting soil and skip the water treatment altogether but if you're like me, you will want to see the roots before you plant them!   How Long Does it Take for Cuttings to Root? Before too long, in less than a week you'll have…

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Japanese Dappled Willow (Salix integra) Revisited

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about one of my favorite shrubs, the Japanese Dappled Willow 'Hakuro Nishiki' (Salix integra). It's a fast growing variegated willow that works well as a privacy screen and is hardy in zones 4-9. It's deciduous so it will be bare over the winter but the new growth in the spring time is fun to look at. It pops out with reddish tints on the tips of the leaves that eventually fade to a white and green "dappled" coloration. Propagating a Dappled Willow is Very Easy I have a row of these plants along one side of our property, but I didn't buy a single one. They all came from cuttings of the dappled willow in the picture above. My in-laws bought a few of these several years ago and this one at the edge of their patio has really enjoyed its location. With…

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Propagating Perennials: Russian Sage, Salvia, and Coneflower

Spring is a great time for what? PERENNIAL PLANT PROPAGATION! OK, I get excited about making new plants and I wanted to share a little of what I've been working on in the garden. Spring really is a great time to take cuttings of your perennials, in fact it might be the best time. If you have never tried propagating a plant perennials are a great place to start. They root very fast and will give you an instant sense of satisfaction of doing something amazing! If you would like to read up on how to propagate plants through cuttings take a look at one of my previous posts: The Basics of Cuttings. Here's what I've been working on: Propagate Salvia nemorosa ('Caradonna' and East Friesland') About a week or so ago I took cuttings of two kinds of Salvia nemorosa, 'Caradonna' and 'East Freisland'. I took internodal cuttings (which…

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