Which is what Dire Straits would have sung if they were gardeners instead of just rock stars. Well it is their loss because this time of the year; just as Summer tips towards Autumn is the time to get some more free plants. Now is not the time for cuttings, but it is time for self sowed seedlings, seeds and viable plantlets. Everywhere you look in your garden there is an abundance of free plants – what’s not to like; let’s get started.
3rd October: Things I have been doing lately.
🌺 Planting up Marguerite seedlings. Marguerites are one of Spain’s favourite plants and can be found in most gardens. However, I struggle to grow them from harvested seed, instead I let them self seed under the parent plant and then harvest them for planting up. Now is the time to do this. Just look under your Marguerites and you will see hundreds of small seedlings beginning to emerge. The photos below show Marguerites in beds alongside my drive, and then some of the seedlings peeping out from under their parent in my borders.
Using a trowel ease a group of seedlings out of the soil then tease them apart using a pencil. Carefully transplant the seedlings into a pre-prepared seed tray. It is very important that you use the pencil to carefully tuck every bit of root into the soil. If you leave any bits out of the soil then there is a real danger the seedlings will not take. The first photo below shows my pre-prepared seed tray with my trusty dibber. The second photo shows seedlings being carefully tucked in with my pencil (I have had this pencil for 30 years) Cruella (my wife) mocks me for this but she has no soul – no I mean it I’m not joking she actually doesn’t have one.
🕷 Harvesting Spider Plantlets. Lots of people think of Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) as permanent denizens of badly lit bathroom window ledges where they often lurk sadly in the gloom. But in fact these versatile and colourful plants are ideal for brightening up shady areas of your garden. They can’t stand full Sun but they don’t mind lurking in half shade areas. In fact, in the shade their variegation becomes more brilliant as they cut through the gloom. Anyway, enough of me rhapsodising about Spider Plants, the important thing is that now is the time to harvest their plantlets. The photo below shows the Mother plant with its babies dangling on long stems which are used to position the new young plants in soil far enough away so that they do not compete with the main plant.
Prepare 3 inch pots with good free draining compost and then holding the stem in one hand carefully cut off the plantlet at the end of the stem, being sure not to cut into the nascent roots. Once you have removed the plantlet then just push it down into the pot about quarter of an inch and you have a new plant. The photo below shows me acting as midwife to the new babies.
🌺 Harvesting Pink Trumpet Vine seeds. Pink Trumpet is another popular Spanish Plant that can be found creeping up and over most Spanish walls and houses. This strong and vigorous plant will provide you with a constant show of flowers all Summer long followed by stunningly beautiful and unusual seed pods. The photo below shows one of my many Pink Trumpet Vines.
From the photo above you can see the plant both in flower and in seed. Normally I will cut the seed pods off at least once to ensure the plant keeps flowering. However, at this time of year you should harvest the seed pods when they are fully brown and dry. Once you have the pod off the plant, place it on a table and gently prise the sides of the pod open. Inside you will find hundreds of flat seeds which you can place in an envelope and plant out in seed trays next Spring to get yourself more plants for free. The first photo below shows some of the pods ready for picking. The second photo shows the seeds bursting from the pods waiting to go into my envelope.
📎 Splitting Albuca Spiralis (corkscrew plant). I don’t often buy plants, prefering to grow from seed or cuttings, but I saw this plant last Summer in a garden centre and I just loved its corkscrew leaves. You can see the plant in the photo below.
From the photo above you can see that the plant grows from a Corm like bulb which goes green in the growing season and then dies back to a dead brown. At the end of last season I cut back the top growth and then left it on my potting bench and just waited with only light watering. Then gradually I noticed green creeping back into the Corm, see photo below.
From the photo above you can see that the plant on the right has the potential to be separated into two plants. By taking the Corm out of the pot I was able to cut the plat in half and create a whole new plant for free. The first photo below shows the Corm after it was split in such a way as to leave enough root for each plant to be viable. The second photo shows the miracle of three plants from two.
Finally a photo from the potting bench showing some of the new plants; and al for free. Get out there and get some free plants for yourself.