Wednesday, March 24, 2010

babies in my garden

I am trying a new thing this year in my yard.  I keep reading garden blogs like this and this, and I've realized that buying two, or three or six new plants a year is not going to fill up my vast gardening space.  I need to learn to propagate!  Last summer I took all the coneflower, black eyed Susan and daisy seedheads and sprinkled them around my front sidewalk garden.  We shall see this summer if that helped.  I'm guessing it did.

Now I'm looking for more ideas.  I looked under my Lenten Roses, and sure enough, there are tiny plants all over.  I don't think there have been babies before, but there certainly are now, so maybe I didn't see them because I never looked.  Plus, they look like the sunflower seedlings which grow under my birdfeeders (and then die because it is too shady) so I may have pulled them out in past years.  But this year I am watching and waiting and hoping to transplant lots of hellebores.  I've already given some of the babies to my parents, although it may be premature.

A chrysanthemum lived through the winter, actually two did.  I believe they are feverfew, an herb/weed/lovely plant in the chrysanthemum family with small yellow daisy-like blooms.  It seeds itself, but I didn't know I could propagate it any other way.  But, apparently I can.  I took a look at the larger of the two plants today and saw that it was really six clusters of leaves with hardwood stalks between them.  I've taken a risk of losing the whole thing, but I just dug it up and divided it on the chopping block.  I sprinkled rooting hormone on each piece and stuck them in pots.  If I'd had any potting soil I would have used it, but I didn't, so I took scoops from the finished compost pile and put the starts in it (along with a few earthworms who may or may not be happy with their new homes).

If propagating plants works, I'll fill my yard with tried and true plants.  I need to take advantage of my spring gardening fever while I can!


  1. My hellebores always give me lots of babies in year 2 and beyond, but they are fiendishly difficult to transplant effectively. Frequently they don't come up in the year following the transplant, but then might show up the year afterwards, after I've forgotten where I'd put them. I have had better luck transplanting them in the fall than in the spring.

  2. Hi Jill, way to go with the propagating! It is the only financially feasible way for most of us to have a full garden. Your hellebore babies look great. I usually wait another year before spreading them around, and then do it in late winter, while the soil is still cool and moist. The heat of spring and summer is not the best time to divide anything. Now is excellent, but be quick before the weather heats up. I don't even put the things in pots, too much bother, just right into the good ole' earth. Thanks for the link! :-)