Monday, September 7, 2009

Landscaping Plants Brings Beauty To Nature

By Keith Markensen

Plants which root along the stem hunt surely give other gardeners the joy they bring to me. I like to watch the self made pictures they achieve and to take advantage of their determination to move along in creating pictures of my own. When we help them to develop roots on their lowest stems we call it layering but a lot of plants layered themselves long before the first gardener took to this process for propagating purposes.

Often plants throw roots down from the under side of a branch or shoot that has come in contact with the soil. Where strong winds prevent stems front rising naturally, pressing them clown against the earth instead, many take to layering' as a mode of getting about.

On my windswept hill, plants which are tall and straight and would never dream of rooting at the stem in more sheltered places realize, after the batterings of several seasons, that they must find another way of self development. My Thymus nitidus and Abelia floribunda do it. In the Northwest I have seen Daphne eneorum take to all fours and in central California live oaks and even sycamores sometimes go underground.

On the West coast we can avail ourselves of this method of propagating or of giving new direction to a plant, at almost any time of the year. The important things are to see that there is a good rooting medium under the bough and that it is moist enough to encourage the sprouting of roots.

If you want your Ceanothus gloriosus, for instance, to cover a slope quickly, extend the branch in the direction you want it to go, see that there is some sand and humus beneath it, cut the leaves off the under side, press the stem into this mixture of sand and leafmold... or whatever mixture you use put a rock on top to anchor it down and see that the whole is thoroughly wet. July is a good month for playing this game because the spring and early summer have ripened the wood.

With next spring's garden in mind, check on the easy landscaping plants first before you spend time on the ones that need utmost attention. Prune spireas, viburnums and cut out the old growth from climbing roses as soon as flowers have withered. Proper landscaping plant selection is also necessary especially among flowering plants. If your iris needs dividing, do it now and keep in bloom the flowering annuals that at present are giving color to your garden, by relieving them of faded blossoms. Do this also to your perennial phlox when it flowers and note the new phlox colors you need for next year.

In the fruit garden keep the raspberries well watered and the grapes tied. If you have committed yourself to the method of summer pruning your grapes, there is nothing for it but to keep at it and follow it up through the summer.

Take the old plants out of the strawberry bed and after working fertilizer into the empty places fill them with young rooted runners of the kinds you like best.

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