Annuals are going the same way as bulbs. They are things which I really can’t grow in this damp, shady, mollusc and mouse infested garden.
Despite my best efforts with copper rings, coffee, wool pellets, gravel, the sharpest and pointiest of berberis twigs and just hand picking them off, the slugs have had all the cosmos and cornflower seedlings that I planted out last month. There’s some rudbeckia left in the cold frame but it feels like plant slaughter to be putting them out knowing full well what the outcome will be. I shall have to resort to slug pellets. They work, but I hate doing it nevertheless.
The easiest way forward is to concentrate on shrubs and selected perennials which can hold their own against the invaders. They are lower maintenance too and with a bit of planning I can still achieve a garden that has interest all year round. The downside is the cost, especially with so much bare earth still to cover. Which is where the new toy comes in. A cuttings propagator.
It consists of a reservoir of water with spray jets to keep the cuttings moist but not waterlogged, providing the perfect conditions for root growth.
Each cutting is prepared in the normal way, inserted into a foam collar and then popped into the propagator tray. There’s a heater in the water as well, keeping it at a constant temperature of 21 deg C.
I’ve started with camellias, a plant that has defeated my attempts to propagate it every year that I’ve tried. Let’s see how it does in this. Also in there cuttings from that rogue shoot that has emerged on the cornus tree, ahead of me chopping it off. I’m also trying Lonicera nitida which I’ll be using to make a low hedge around the new edge of the lawn. We’ve already collected about 24 plants from various points around the garden, dug up and heeled in to a nursery bed, but I’ll need many more.
If this works it will save me a fortune in the years to come. There’s a sense of real expectation building. Propagating was never more exciting!
For the wildlife, meanwhile, it’s business as usual.
There’s been a constant stream of woodpeckers and other birds to and from the feeders finding food for their chicks. They’ve needed almost daily refilling. The squirrels haven’t been slow to catch on. So we put fresh batteries in the twirler.
And you know what? Squirrels have a well developed capacity for revenge. The very next day, this happened:
Ex-rosebud ‘Pat Austin’
On the path directly outside the kitchen window. Where I would see it.
And in Mike’s lawn…
There was another deer in the garden this morning too.
The battle continues.