Cuttings: A book to grow with

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The Independent Online
PROPAGATING plants is a disease. Stopping is the difficulty - not starting. Gardeners who have conquered the easy stuff and want to move on to something more taxing should get The Propagation of Hardy Perennials by Richard Bird (Batsford pounds 19.99). It has a bit of icing in the middle - a couple of dozen small colour pictures - but the rest is solid cake. The first half covers techniques; the rest, the specific propagating requirements of 700 different families of plants.

I tested the book on felicia. You are usually told only to take cuttings in August and September. Mr Bird starts with the useful advice to shear over part of the plant two or three weeks before you need the cuttings and then feed it so that it will produce the fresh growth that makes the most suitable cutting material. Here, you feel, is a man who has tested his advice.

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