Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Proving Ground

Remember the volunteer seedling I discovered in one of the gardens at Atlock Farm? If you don’t, here is a picture of it in its infancy:

aOver the past month or so since that photo was taken, very favorable conditions encouraged that little seedling to grow much larger. However, notice how the bright pink on the youngest leaves is completely absent from the upper, newer foliage.




aAlthough most of the pink has vanished and the basic color of the foliage now looks like mud or something similar, it might not stay that way forever. It’s time to put the seedling through its paces, which means I need to propagate more plants from the original one and test them out under various conditions.

Time to break out the scissors and Oasis!




aFirst step: decapitate the seedling. It’s big enough to withstand having its top half removed for cuttings, leaving the base of the plant to branch out as it will.




aNext step: prepare cuttings from the top half for insertion into the little Oasis wedges, in which the cuttings will root. Here’s the initial length of stem.




aAnd here’s what that stem looked like after I made five cuttings. The little bits are the cuttings, and the rest is the material headed for the compost pile. Note how most of the leaf surface and some lengths of the stem have been removed.




aFinally, here are the five cuttings inserted into a strip of Oasis wedges.





Check back in a few weeks to see how the cuttings rooted and to marvel at how large the decapitated original plant grew (I hope!). Now and again I’ll revisit the progress of the whole lot. Maybe the bright pink coloration will return, or maybe something completely unexpected and surprising will happen.