Weekend work: Time to take root cuttings

 

WHAT TO DO

Several different herbaceous plants such as papery-flowered romneya, oriental poppies, anchusas, perennial verbascums and gaillardias are most easily propagated by root cuttings. This month is the time to take them.

Dig up the clump you want to increase, chop up the roots into pieces 3-6cm in length and push the cuttings vertically (right end up) into pots full of a sandy light compost. Put the pots and trays in the greenhouse (or a cold frame) and keep them watered but not drowned. By early June, you should have young plants sturdy enough to be grown on in a nursery bed.

WHAT TO BUY

To celebrate his hundredth catalogue, Mike Park, supreme seller of old gardening books, opens its pages with 100 "unusual, rare or intriguing" titles. For just £50 you can get hold of a scarce copy of 'The Hunter Sketchbook – Birds and Flowers of New South Wales, Drawn on the Spot in 1788, 89, & 90', this edition printed in Canberra in 1989. For more information (and an online catalogue) go to mikeparkbooks.com or call 020-8641 7796

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