by Leslie Cox; Saturday; April 7, 2018
So exciting! Saw two baby goldfish swimming in the pond yesterday. (Photo to the right is of the last batch of goldfish babies two years ago.) Now the clincher is if they can survive long enough until I can finally catch the two young bull frogs who are hanging out in the pond as well.
I have not tried to capture them yet as they are very skittish. The frogs, I mean. They are also hanging out in amongst the Siberian irises which are loosely planted at the edge of the pond. This makes the frogs really tricky to sneak up on with the butterfly net.
The irises are really meant to be cover for the fish against the Great Blue Heron who has our garden listed as one of his choice places to eat. We have lost a few fish to him in the past.
Also this week, John divided off a small section of his Dodecatheon meadia (shooting star) for my front garden. I wrote about this plant earlier in the week and posted it in Plants We Grow under In the Garden on the main menu bar. (Quick link here.) Shooting star is a delightful spring plant that goes dormant for the rest of the year when the heat warms up in summer. Rather an endearing trait…taking centre stage when it is most needed in spring and then bowing out to allow other stellar summer blooming plants to have their turn to shine.
Time to divide some hostas too…particularly my Hosta ‘Liberty’ which I have in a lovely blue planter for my front porch. ‘Liberty’ was designated Hosta of the Year for 2012 by the American Hosta Association and also received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in the same year. It is a large hosta, and a quick growing one. I divided it last year, and now again this year…with John’s help. But this time I only put three stems back into my planter. I gave a portion to John for his garden and potted up the remaining division for the plant sale table.
So…back to the shooting star division. Finally selected a spot to incorporate it in my garden but it necessitated limbing up the Aucuba japonica a bit. (Aucuba shrub pictured below in the Island bed, seen at centre right just behind the weigela covered in red flowers.) The lower branches were interfering with my Primula auricula plants nearby anyways. Pleasant surprise. Four of the low branches had layered themselves.
Layering is a great…and really easy…way to propagate new plants from shrubs and ground-hugging perennials. Often a shrub will layer itself without any assistance from the gardener…as my aucuba did. But you can cut down the odds of this happening by simply laying a low branch on the soil and placing a rock on top of the contact point. The rock must be heavy enough to keep the branch in place and large enough that it will not topple off if the wind shakes your intended propagation branch. Check back in about four months to see if there is any rooting happening.
Some propagating experts recommend you nick the underside of the branch where it will come into contact with the soil. This is a good idea if there are no nodes on your branch from which roots can emerge. Not an issue with aucuba as its branches have nodes along their entire length. If you do use a knife, be sure it is sterilized to ensure no disease is transferred into the open plant tissue.
Until next week…Happy Gardening!! And stay dry!