Propagation workshop in Unley

Report by Anne Wilson and Pauline Muir.  Pictures: Russ Talbot

If there’s one thing that gets gardeners going it’s a ‘hands-on’ session. And when different bands of gardeners get together in good gardening territory there’s no holding back.

16 participants from two Unley groups with garden and food-growing interests combined on a sunny weekend morning in May to practise propagation techniques under the expansive verandah of the Goody Patch Community Garden, with tutelage from Pauline Muir and Anne Wilson. Goody Patch and SCSA members met and mixed happily with regulars from Unley Sustainable Communities’ Grow, Grow, Grow Your Own series of weekend workshops.

While plants are winding down for winter, it is an ideal the time of the year for establishing hardwood and semi-hardwood cuttings, when growth hormones move down from the flexible tips of plants to the woodier ‘semi-ripe’ parts to put on girth (like we do in winter). People opted for figs, vines, rosemary, lavender, sage, Mexican marigold, succulents, Brazilian spinach, and brought plants from their own gardens to try.

For the cutting medium we used 80% perlite blended with 20% coir, a recipe recommended by Botanic Garden propagators who grow 60,000 cuttings a year. Participants had the option of dipping cuttings in rooting hormone or honey, and enclosed the pots of cuttings in plastic bags (like premature babies in humidicribs).

As part of the workshop there was a brief tour of Pauline’s garden where people could see how to establish layering and air-layering to produce new plants. There were also suckers springing up round the raspberries and curry leaf tree; these can be dug up carefully and potted. We were both run off our feet and delighted by the enthusiasm and energy from this great bunch of students. But there were other interesting results: one person, who finds gardening by herself rather lonely, joined the community garden. Another is going to use the techniques to propagate an endangered native plant.

The session finished with tea and coffee courtesy of the Goody Patch, supplemented with cakes provided by the participants. And Pauline and Anne enjoyed themselves so much they’re already planning a session for Spring.

If anyone would like to talk to us about these workshops, or know more about what we do, please contact us through this website.

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