Saturday, April 07, 2007

Poppy Day

The Theodore Payne Foundation held their annual Poppy Day today. I arrived there just after noon, in time to attend one of the workshops about native plant propagation by cuttings. It was given by a very nice English woman volunteer whose name I failed to catch. I learned a lot in the workshop -- before I had no knowledge of how to propagate plants. These are the steps (roughly) involved in propagation:
  • Cut off a few inches of a plant's stem.
  • Strip off all the leaves and flowers except for one or two. The cutting can lose too much moisture if too many leaves are left on. You don't want to leave any flowers because they use up the plants energy which you want to be spent on making new roots.
  • Immerse the bottoms of the cuttings in water if it is going to be a while before you transfer them into their medium.
  • Prepare 2 inch high trays or small pots with a medium consisting of perlite and sand. Other types of mediums can be used, but in general, you want something sterile with no nutrition that can absorb water.
  • Add the cuttings to the medium, keep them out of direct sun light, keep them moist, and wait about a month or so until they produce roots.
  • Transfer the cuttings to a 4 inch pot with a soil mixture such as SuperSoil once they have rooted.
  • When the roots reach the bottom of the 4 inch pot, the cuttings can be planted in the ground.
After the workshop, I browsed through the plants in the nursery which were all on sale today. I ended up buying 10 plants:
The Bush Poppy is going to go in the front yard and serve as a hedge near the front door. Surrounding it will be the Hearst Ceanothus. The blue flowers from the ceanothus should contrast nicely with the bright yellow flowers of the bush poppy.

The California Fushia will be planted in the parkway area between my house and my neighbor's house. It will replace the dead grass that has been there since I moved in.

I bought the red fescue to plant as an experiment. I want to see if it is something that will work well as a lawn substitute that my dog can relax on. If it works, I'll buy more in the future and cover a large area with it.

The Island Snapdragon is going to go with 2 others I bought last fall. I just needed an extra one to cover the large area behind by garage surrounding my compost bins.

By the way, the California Poppies I planted in the fall are blooming like crazy now. It is quite a display. I'll try to remember to post a picture of it soon.

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