How the Cut Flower Keeps Living: Cloning & 3 Things to Know for Fall

Thank you for reading! You can see me in action as I explain cloning in a YouTube tutorial and me talking Fall with my wife, Jay on my channel, also The Weekend Garden Soldier. If you get over there, we would appreciate your feedback—whether you like, subscribe, leave a comment, or ask me a question.

My wife and I are really happy with our garden victories this year, but we each see this time of year a little differently. She feels more urgency than I do to move on to the next big shift. I don’t think we’re done with this stage just yet. I’m still thinking about a few different things on the cusp of Fall.

  1. Bargain plants Keep a look out. Prices are gonna start to drop in stores that know what they’re doing. It’s better to sell a plant for a dollar, rather than throw it away. That’s my opinion. Even the best greenhouses waste a lot of plants by not decreasing prices as the seasons demand.
  2. Fall I don’t consider the arrival of autumn as the end of gardening. As a matter of fact, there’s still technically a lot more for me to do. Bulbs. Perennials. Late-season (probably October) planting… So this is a time for gardeners like me—who dream of always growing, even in urban or small settings—can keep our minds sharp and our hopes up for planning, planting, and preparing whatever your garden space looks like.
  3. Strategy As I plan what I want to do with both my edible and inedible gardens, I can’t just assume I will remember everything I want to change and implement next year. I have to take notes. For the same reason it’s a good idea for me to lable my plants as they go into our gardens, I write something down as I imagine what I will create, what I will keep and what I’ll move for the next season.

CLONING I say it’s a good time to clone, because I want to clone at a time that the plants are still in good shape—while there are still healthy shoots. It’s not necessarily an optimal time to collect cuttings for propagation, more of a preference—my liking to plant seeds, growing plants indoors from February to May. So, for me, as long as there is some active growth.

Below, you can see me making a cutting of Echinacea (Coneflower).

When I zoom out of my laser focus on traditional sowing and garden maintenance, the end of the summer presents me with an ideal window for the way I prefer to dedicate resources by season. It’s a time that my cutting back the plant will actually help the aesthetics of our garden beds. If I have a big plant, cutting it back for this beneficial purpose also allows me to tidy up my perennial. I love cloning and growing our home gardens this way.

Some things I want to look into include (but are not limited to): growing garlic successfully, getting a garden journal to help us record big garden moments, and researching things like succession gardening and what the Fall should look like for food we love to grow like beans and peas.

Let me know what your garden plans are—big or small!

WHY I Clone My Favorite Perennials

In my gardens, I am cutting back leggy plants and things that are done performing for me. I am harvesting what’s left of our outdoor crops. I’m preparing to bring tropical plants that are not hardy to my growing zone inside for overwintering. Overwintering a plant just means I’m making changes in how I handle the needs of a plant, so it can live through a season during which the environment isn’t hospitable. I’m also cloning my favorite perennials.

For whatever reason you want to or are thinking about cloning plants, it’s a great year round option for adding to you garden collection of plants. Propagating plants is simply breeding specimens of (the plant) by natural processes from the parent stock—that is, in this case, propagating your own houseplants from cuttings. I record myself cutting them, so you can understand the process on my YouTube channel, also called The Weekend Garden Soldier. Nodes are the part of a plant stem from which one or more leaves emerge, often forming a slight swelling or knob. Below a node is where you cut the plant, in anticipation of that part of the stem being planted underground. That’s where it will root.

And all you need to begin growing your favorite plants from the ones you already have in your home garden is/are:

  • your favorite type of shears. (You can see me on my YouTube channel using my wife’s meat shears to make cuttings in my “Cloning Cuttings” Series. )
  • a sunny work and storage area for you to prepare your cuttings immediately after you’ve collected them and for keeping them when the cuttings are ready to root. (This can vary from a windowsill that gets some sun to a permanent or temporary greenhouse structure.)
  • rooting hormone
  • propagation sponges and other containers, &
  • materials for maintaining and observing whether your cuttings are getting sufficient humidity during the rooting and transplantation process. (This might be a humidity dome. It could be ziplock bags.)

On The Weekend Garden Soldier YouTube Channel, I link to the pertinent products that I use to prepare for cloning and also the next step, transplantation, when my successful clones root. Today I took cuttings from Bluebeard (Caryopteris),

…two different Butterfly Bushes,

…and from a few different rose bushes.

The only option I have is to propogate in the case of certain plants. For instance, I can’t buy seeds for plants like Lantana. There are lots of perennials that don’t make seeds. Sometimes seeds don’t turn out the way you expect them to. Additionally, I’ve always been curious to test my ability to see whether I can grow a full-sized rose from a cutting, because I like to see small plants grow bigger. Cloning assures plants will be true to form. I can make sure my favorite or rare plants stick around by cloning them, too.

Late Summer

Late summer is a time where I’m doing a lot of harvesting and trying to refresh certain parts of the garden where plants have gotten old and “leggy.” Especially annual beds, I need to cut way back. Even in the perennial beds, there are lots of weeds to remove.

Removing old annuals

It’s still summer, so it’s still warm. I can start or continue projects. In our backyard, we are taming the the border near a stand of trees. That means clearing out weeds, Poison Ivy (unfortunately), and cutting out brush and dead tree limbs.

Putting in a new perennial

As it pertains to harvesting, we still have a lot of tomatoes. At this time of the year, it feels like a constant harvest, picking off what we want to eat each day.

In certain places, we’re cleaning up as we close out the last round of harvesting. For instance, in the planters we built for peas, beans, cucumbers, onions, and carrots, we have completed the final harvest and moved brightly-colored cannas to take their places in the planters in which we sustainably grown food for the entire season.

In fact, a lot of tropicals like the cannas and hibiscus and elephant ears really love the lingering end of summer and begin to truly flourish.

Thriving Hibiscus

Late summer is also a time when we start reflecting on plants that we’re done with—how we can improve. It would be a good idea to take notes right now of what we like and don’t like, the numbers of what we want to do and how.

For instance, we would handle the tomatoes the way we did—in big, tall pots (versus in the ground, because of accessibility). We’d grow the two tomatoes that we really loved and maybe one other variety in containers out on the deck off the south side of the house. We’d grow an entire planter of onions, rather than mixing them in with any other vegetable. We use onions every day, so it would be great to mass produce them. Next year, we definitely want to grow bell peppers and garlic (basically, everything we throw into our favorite Thai dish). We wouldn’t change anything about carrots, except growing them together with Cosmos.

Final Carrot Haul

We wouldn’t try to grow any in 2 gallon grow bags, but only in the ground in the planters we built. Grow bags are great to start things in, but they aren’t great for sustaining the way we live and eat food. We’re going to also attempt to potatoes, another staple.

All this being said, summer is also a time sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of our labor, literally and figuratively.

Gorgeous, Gorgeous Day!

Today was a beautiful day. The perfect day for gardening. Basically, 72 degrees out. We mowed, edged, fertilized, weeded, and sprayed the roses. The roses need an anti-fungal treatment for rust and black spot. The kids have been helping out, taking pictures of the garden, and they’ve come out with some great pics. Maybe it’s just the fact that they’re lower to ground but they have a different perspective.

The zinnias are starting to pop. They’re my favorite flower.

DSC_0346 DSC_0347 DSC_0348 DSC_0349 DSC_0350 DSC_0351 DSC_0352 DSC_0353 DSC_0354 DSC_0355 DSC_0356 DSC_0357 DSC_0358 DSC_0359 DSC_0360 DSC_0361 DSC_0362 DSC_0363 DSC_0364 DSC_0365 DSC_0366 DSC_0367 DSC_0368 DSC_0369 DSC_0370 DSC_0371 DSC_0372 DSC_0373 DSC_0374 DSC_0375 DSC_0376 DSC_0377 DSC_0378 DSC_0379 DSC_0380 DSC_0381 DSC_0382 DSC_0383 DSC_0384 DSC_0385 DSC_0386 DSC_0387 DSC_0388 DSC_0389 DSC_0390 DSC_0391 DSC_0392 DSC_0393 DSC_0394 DSC_0395 DSC_0396 DSC_0397 DSC_0398 DSC_0399 DSC_0400 DSC_0401 DSC_0402 DSC_0403 DSC_0404 DSC_0405 DSC_0406 DSC_0407 DSC_0408 DSC_0409 DSC_0410 DSC_0411 DSC_0412 DSC_0413 DSC_0414 DSC_0415 DSC_0416 DSC_0417 DSC_0418 DSC_0419 DSC_0420 DSC_0421 DSC_0422 DSC_0423 DSC_0424 DSC_0425 DSC_0426 DSC_0427 DSC_0428 DSC_0429 DSC_0430 DSC_0431 DSC_0432 DSC_0433 DSC_0434 DSC_0435 DSC_0436 DSC_0437 DSC_0438 DSC_0439 DSC_0440 DSC_0441 DSC_0442 DSC_0443 DSC_0444 DSC_0445 DSC_0446 DSC_0447 DSC_0448 DSC_0449 DSC_0450 DSC_0451 DSC_0452 DSC_0453 DSC_0454 DSC_0455 DSC_0456 DSC_0457 DSC_0458 DSC_0459 DSC_0460 DSC_0461 DSC_0462 DSC_0463 DSC_0464 DSC_0465 DSC_0466 DSC_0467 DSC_0468 DSC_0469 DSC_0470 DSC_0471 DSC_0472 DSC_0473 DSC_0474 DSC_0475 DSC_0476 DSC_0477 DSC_0478 DSC_0479 DSC_0480 DSC_0481 DSC_0482 DSC_0483 DSC_0484 DSC_0485 DSC_0486 DSC_0487 DSC_0488 DSC_0489 DSC_0490 DSC_0491 DSC_0492 IMG_6150 IMG_6154 IMG_6156 IMG_6157 IMG_6159

Starting to Fill In

More stuff is coming up. Dahlias. Clematis. Iris. Annual Phlox. Calibrachoa. Peonies. The funny thing about peonies is that ants get all over them to open up the buds. We’re also getting a decent amount of rain, so I haven’t had to run the sprinkler that much: water conservation.

DSC_6719 DSC_6749 DSC_0001 DSC_0004 DSC_0008 DSC_0009 DSC_0010 DSC_0015 DSC_0026

I created a new box to beautify the parkway since we don’t have much going on out there. Already had some coneflower growing over there, which I dug up and put into a new planter I made…along with 3 types of drought tolerant sedum (a large genus of flowering plants in the family Crassulaceae, members of which are commonly known as stonecrops). Also a zinnia, marigold, petunia, and violas went into the parkway planter. I’ve built planters like this one a million times.

IMG_2289 IMG_2296 IMG_2299 IMG_2303 IMG_2306

DSC_6736 DSC_6739

Also new to the garden is a cement hummingbird birdbath, which I tweeted about on the day it went in from @gardensoldier. My wife says the birds are still testing out the bath, which looks ancient with its elaborate carvings.

DSC_6730 DSC_6726 DSC_6729

Almost the end…

IMG_2320 IMG_2318 IMG_2319

Mulch Ado: Bringing a Little Order to Wild Beauty

FARMER’S MARKET

We went to the market in the early day. It’s always good to wake up on Saturdays, get going doing stuff, so you can have a full day. We got some local goods like cut kale and a kale plant. We got what the vendor described as “Mexican-style Giardiniera,” which is EXTREMELY hot (apparently. My wife is the only one who’s had some as of now.). My daughter got some homemade, organic lip balm.

11060910_961943450492771_3685074770426978395_n 11222480_961943387159444_5404541911084679489_n 11222680_961943473826102_3738991668939659935_n 11377255_961943420492774_2436717451266827642_n

THE PARK

We went to the park and had a nice time after our shopping.

11143503_961943360492780_8367878638726118796_n 11295641_961943280492788_6556715985330513378_n

HOME DEPOT: Trip 1, Trip 2 and Trip 3

I went and got a bunch of bags of mulch. Brown mulch and red mulch. Got back and then started the WeekendGardenSoldier session!

MULCHING

The best things I like about mulching are that it helps identify and isolate the plants that I actually planted. Of course, there are the known benefits of mulching: Retaining moisture and keeping weeds down.

DSC_6700 DSC_6702 DSC_6701 DSC_6699 DSC_6698 DSC_6697 DSC_6696 DSC_6695 DSC_6694 DSC_6693 DSC_6692 DSC_6691 DSC_6690 DSC_6689 DSC_6688 DSC_6687 DSC_6686 DSC_6685 DSC_6684 DSC_6683 DSC_6682 DSC_6666 DSC_6665 DSC_6656 DSC_6655 DSC_6664 DSC_6625 DSC_6624 DSC_6623 DSC_6622 DSC_6621 DSC_6619 DSC_6618 DSC_6618 DSC_6616 DSC_6615 DSC_6614 DSC_6613 DSC_6612 DSC_6611 DSC_6609 DSC_6608 DSC_6607 DSC_6606 DSC_6605 DSC_6602

FERTILIZING

DSC_6605 DSC_6604 DSC_6603 DSC_6602

CURRENT AFFAIRS: The Garden

DSC_6703 DSC_6681 DSC_6679 DSC_6678 DSC_6677 DSC_6676 DSC_6675 DSC_6674 DSC_6673 DSC_6672 DSC_6671 DSC_6670 DSC_6671 DSC_6669 DSC_6668 DSC_6667 DSC_6663 DSC_6662 DSC_6661 DSC_6654 DSC_6653 DSC_6652 DSC_6651 DSC_6650 DSC_6649 DSC_6648 DSC_6643 DSC_6644 DSC_6647 DSC_6642 DSC_6639 DSC_6641 DSC_6645 DSC_6640 DSC_6632 DSC_6638 DSC_6636 DSC_6630 DSC_6631 DSC_6635 DSC_6637 DSC_6634 DSC_6633 DSC_6628 DSC_6627 DSC_6629 DSC_6626 DSC_6610

Off and Poppin’

Things aren’t flowering as fast as I’d like. Normally by now I think I’d have more flowers going. I could be wrong. Pansies and snapdragons look like they’re going. I’m probably just getting impatient.

Over the last weekend, I did put out a whole bunch of new tropicals—cannas and elephant ears. Got the watering system set for the back bed. Just about everything is outside now. I have a few lingering plants inside.

DSC_6478 DSC_6479 DSC_6480 DSC_6481 DSC_6482 DSC_6483 DSC_6484 DSC_6485 DSC_6486 DSC_6492 DSC_6493 DSC_6494 DSC_6495 DSC_6496 DSC_6497 DSC_6498 DSC_6499 DSC_6500 DSC_6501 DSC_6502 DSC_6503 DSC_6504 DSC_6505 DSC_6506 DSC_6507 DSC_6508 DSC_6509 DSC_6510 DSC_6511 DSC_6512 DSC_6513 DSC_6514 DSC_6515 DSC_6516 DSC_6517 DSC_6518 DSC_6519 DSC_6520 DSC_6521 DSC_6522 DSC_6523 DSC_6524 DSC_6525 DSC_6526 DSC_6527 DSC_6528 DSC_6529 DSC_6530 DSC_6531 DSC_6532 DSC_6533 DSC_6534 DSC_6535 DSC_6536 DSC_6537 DSC_6538 DSC_6539 DSC_6540 DSC_6541 DSC_6542 DSC_6543 DSC_6544 DSC_6545 DSC_6546 DSC_6547 DSC_6548 DSC_6549 DSC_6550 DSC_6551 DSC_6552 DSC_6553 DSC_6554 DSC_6555 DSC_6556 DSC_6557 DSC_6558 DSC_6559 DSC_6560 DSC_6561 DSC_6562 DSC_6563 DSC_6564 DSC_6565 DSC_6566 DSC_6567 DSC_6568 DSC_6569 DSC_6578 DSC_6579 DSC_6580 DSC_6581 DSC_6582 DSC_6583 DSC_6584 DSC_6585 DSC_6586 DSC_6587 DSC_6588 DSC_6589 DSC_6590 DSC_6591 DSC_6592 DSC_6593 DSC_6594 DSC_6595 DSC_6596 DSC_6597 DSC_6598 DSC_6599 DSC_6600 DSC_6601

THE NEW LIVING FENCE: The Early Days

Now that the roses—Rosa rugosa (rugosa rose, Japanese rose, or Ramanas rose)—are all dug up, I put the new privet hedges in. The majority of them are budding out. It’s real nice to have a fresh start. The Rosa rugosa that I grew from seed (as opposed to the ones I just dug up, which came as saplings) are doing great! They’re super-healthy. I just like them because as they’re getting bigger, they stay where they are. Stay where they’re put.

DSC_6472 DSC_6477 DSC_6476 DSC_6475 DSC_6474 DSC_6473 DSC_6487 DSC_6488 DSC_6489 DSC_6490 DSC_6491

MORE DIGGING

I dug up the hydrangeas that were being overrun by weeds and saplings. I actually put them in pots. I put that acidic stuff (aluminum sulfate) in one of the pots, so I can compare the results to the potted hydrangea without. Theoretically, hydrangea might not survive the winter in pots; so I might have to bury the pots. We’ll see.

The Back Breaker Rose

CURRENT STATUS

Because of the hot weather, I put out a bunch of tropicals. Now we’re getting rain, they’re gonna be rained in, which I would describe as what happens when a lot of water comes down and soaks the roots. That’s good, because it makes the roots have good contact with the surrounding soil as the root ball is gently broken up. This is the earliest I’ve been able to get them out, and the weather is cooperating with that.

THE ROSE SITUATION: Ornamental

There were a few roses I had… A lot of times when you buy roses, they don’t say what zone they’re from; I think they may do that on purpose so you’ll be more willing to buy them. Anyway, I think a couple of our roses were the wrong zone. One was a rose tree. I haven’t seen any green on that yet. The other 2 rose plants have some green on them, one a little more than the other. I did mound them (put a bunch of dirt on the bud union, bottom of the canes. You can also wrap burlap around them to protect the actual canes, which I think would have helped). They have a little green on them, but they haven’t budded out. I decided to dig them up, put them in pots, and see if I can get them to sprout out. However, I was able to preserve the genetics of those 2 by cloning them. After growing them inside all summer, I placed them in the far planter with the finials (described in my post about recycling tree stumps).

In the meantime we got a few roses to replace them: Charisma; John F. Kennedy; Iceberg; and  1 other.

Any new plants I get… New roses, I should say: I’ll probably clone them. Just in case they don’t make it through the winter.

DSC_0018 DSC_0017 DSC_0016 DSC_0015 DSC_0014 DSC_0014 DSC_0012 DSC_0011 DSC_0010 DSC_0009 DSC_0008 DSC_0007 DSC_0006 DSC_0005

ROSA RUGOSA: Our Living Hedge is Defeated

Rosa rugosa (rugosa rose, Japanese rose, or Ramanas rose) is a species of rose native to eastern Asia, in northeastern China, Japan, Korea and southeastern Siberia, where it grows on the coast, often on sand dunes. We’ve grown it from seed, and those ones are doing great—thriving, healthy, gorgeous. It’s the ones we bought and planted as saplings… They’ve spread through the entire front yard (about a 1/4 acre of land) and started to look unkempt despite our attempts to prune them properly. I’m replacing them with privet hedges.

First I tried to dig em out with a shovel. It actually worked on the first one; but by the time I got to the second, I realized the roots were like tree trunks. I had to resort to more lumberjack methods! So I got the nary used axe and finally got my money’s worth! Basically, I chopped the bushes down like sugar cane on the Amazing Race. Except, this was much harder!

DSC_0019 DSC_0020 IMG_5251 IMG_5252

Happy Living Garden: Out of their Cups, Plant Seedlings Go into Beds, Pots & Planters

THE BEDS & BIRD BATHS

DSC_0040 DSC_0041 DSC_0042 DSC_0043 DSC_0044 DSC_0045 DSC_0047 DSC_0048 DSC_0049 DSC_0050 DSC_0051 DSC_0052 DSC_0053 DSC_0054 DSC_0055 DSC_0056 DSC_0057 DSC_0058 DSC_0059 DSC_0060 DSC_0061 DSC_0062 DSC_0066 DSC_0067 DSC_0068 DSC_0069

PLANTERS

DSC_0009 DSC_0010 DSC_0017 DSC_0018 DSC_0019 DSC_0020 DSC_0021 DSC_0022 DSC_0023 DSC_0024 DSC_0025 DSC_0030 DSC_0031 DSC_0034 DSC_0063 DSC_0064

HANGING BASKETS

DSC_0070

SHADE PLANTS & TROPICALS

*The featured Gerbera Daisy (below) was overwintered in the basement. Overwintering is the process by which some organisms pass through or wait out the winter season, or pass through that period of the year when “winter” conditions (cold or sub-zero temperatures, ice, snow, limited food supplies) make normal activity or even survival difficult or near impossible.

DSC_0001 DSC_0002 DSC_0003 DSC_0004 DSC_0006 DSC_0011 DSC_0012 DSC_0013 DSC_0014 DSC_0015 DSC_0033

PLANT POPULATION: They all go out TODAY!

EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM

Okay maybe half went out today, but that’s still approximately 450 (of approximately 900) plants. My day started at about 6 AM and ended around 6 PM. The main bed is now extremely full. The second annual bed only has a few spots left. I have to figure out where to put the rest of the plants. I’m sure I’ll end up putting a bunch in pots or jamming some in other spots. I might give some to my mom. My wife wants to give some to friends and the kids’ teachers at the end of the year. *Scroll down past these pictures to read the rest of the article, please!

DSC_0051 DSC_0052 DSC_0053 DSC_0054 DSC_0055 DSC_0056 DSC_0057 DSC_0058 DSC_0059 DSC_0060 DSC_0061 DSC_0069 DSC_0071 DSC_0073 DSC_0074 DSC_0076 DSC_0078 DSC_0079 DSC_0080 DSC_0083 DSC_0084 DSC_0085 DSC_0086 DSC_0088 DSC_0090 DSC_0091 DSC_0092 DSC_0096 DSC_0102 DSC_0103 DSC_0104 DSC_0105 DSC_0106 DSC_0116 DSC_0117 DSC_0119 DSC_0120 DSC_0123 DSC_0124 DSC_0125 DSC_0126 DSC_0127 DSC_0128 DSC_0129 DSC_0131 DSC_0132 DSC_0136 DSC_0137 DSC_0138 DSC_0140 DSC_0160 DSC_0161 DSC_0162 DSC_0169 DSC_0176 DSC_0180 DSC_0183 DSC_0189 DSC_0195 DSC_0196 DSC_0199 DSC_0204 DSC_0208 DSC_0209 DSC_0212 DSC_0217 DSC_0218 DSC_0220 DSC_0224 DSC_0230 DSC_0233 DSC_0238 DSC_0001 DSC_0004 IMG_2191

EARLY BIRD HAS TO WATER

I also set up a watering system for the main 2 beds. Got timers on both of them already… Hoses kind of already laid out. May have to do some adjustments to locations…The second annual bed could probably use a taller sprinkler—one of those tall, spinning ones.

TROPICAL WEATHER

Good to finally see some good weather and not have to worry about stuff not being able to take the cold. Basically got every single non-tropical plant up from the basement; put them on the garden table; am hardening them off (getting them acclimated to outside); and may bring up the tropicals (exotic tropical plants and flowers), too.

I started the tropicals early this year. Usually I just plant the bulbs without any foliage. This year, I put them in little pots and got some leaves going on them already, so they should get a quicker start.

DSC_0001 DSC_0002 DSC_0003 DSC_0004 DSC_0005