Friday, March 20, 2009

Grow baby, grow!

Since saplings are priced to give you pause before buying them, I decided it was time to delve into the business of cuttings and propagation. My first thought was to try pulling a twig off each of these peach trees that grow by the road near our house.

One has light pink and the other has dark pink flowers, and they're just about ready to put on a fantastic display. They're also still covered in peach seeds and what must be old, decayed peach, so I assume they're productive, although whether or not the peaches taste good I don't know. Nor care, particularly. If they don't taste that good, I'm resolved to try making peach alcohol with them.

But a little digging on the Web suggested that peach cuttings don't root at all from cuttings, unless you use root hormone. The twig I stuck in a pot of compost without root powder still seems to be about to flower, but I bought some hormone anyway, as I have some other things I want to try too.

I took cuttings of blackberry, wolfberry, boxwood, and peach. The instructions that come with the root powder are rather alarming; Ensure you have no cuts on your hands (I always have cuts on my hands, I'm a gardener), wash your hands four times after using the powder and gargle four times. Jesus Christ, will I grow roots if I inhale some of this stuff?

The blackberry and wolfberry didn't respond well to being cut, and their leaves wilted almost immediately. However, I dipped them in the root powder, potted them up, and I'm hoping for the best. I also gargled a few times and hoped for the best, but I'm willing to bet few gardeners take this step. And when you wash your little ceramic hormone dipping pot and the powder goes off into the water supply who gets to gargle that?

Well, enough hormonal speculation. The almond I planted last year is in full blossom. It had better watch out, because I'll be pulling twigs off it as soon as it grows a few more. These are some of the biggest, most robust flowers I've ever seen on a little tree, and they evoke the frank amazement all our visitors. If it grows into a full-sized tree, it should present rather a dramatic sight.

I also recently planted a Rosa Banksiae at each south-facing corner of the house, one yellow and one white, and I'm hoping to train them up the brickwork by sticking hooks in the grouting. Failing that, they'll have to climb up the drainpipe like a burglar.

Here are the peaches in blossom.

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