How to easily propagate aconites and snowdrops in your gardenPosted by Fiona Nevile in Flowers | 9 comments
The past two dry days have meant that I have donned my thermal suit and my winter decorating outfit. I’ve started work on the outside of a lovely house, set in forty acres.
Here I’ve seen a hare snatching the chance to sneak up the drive towards the vegetable garden (the Labradors were out playing golf at the time), blue pheasant nest there and bountiful feeders attract a wide range of birds. By the pond, I spotted my first Jay as I was watching the moorhens silently pick their way into the safety of the rushes. In a few weeks time they will have young and I’ll eat my lunch on the shores of their domain hoping for a glimpse of the chicks. And this afternoon I saw a green woodpecker feeding on the lawn.
The only wildlife that are not welcome are the squirrels, rabbits and large black birds that steal the walnuts in the summer. These are all dispatched efficiently and skilfully with shotguns. Come the revolution, this family would be handy people to know – both for protection and food.
I like squirrels, although I know that they can do enormous damage in gardens. But watching a squirrel dancing through the high branches of a large tree is magical. I haven’t the neck to mention this to my clients but I have never seen a squirrel on the estate. Perhaps the S. carolinensis bongo drums warn that it’s a guerrilla zone that takes no prisoners.
I have mentioned before the thick carpets of aconites that are growing under the mature horse chestnut trees on this estate. This week I discovered that my clients have been actively propagating them for years by spreading the seed.
“Transplanting the plants just doesn’t really work, Fiona. It’s a lot of bother. Much better to harvest and scatter the seed. ”
I continued painting on the top of the step ladder. If I stop working, people stop talking to me.
“How do you do that?”
“Well you have to wait until the seeds are just at the right stage. And then you just spread them where you want the aconites to flowers.”
She threw out her arm like the biblical Sower of the Seed.
“Or you can just strim off the heads if you want them to propagate in the same area. It’s worked very well behind the house.” She mimed the fluid strimming action.
“What’s the right stage?”
“If you are still here, I’ll show you.”
I stopped for a moment and we both gazed at the buoyant carpet of aconites and snowdrops on this side of the hedge.
“The aconites behind the hedge are terrific. I’m thinking of cutting an arch through.”
“The strimmer method works well for snowdrops too, apparently. When the seeds are mature.”
My client is pally with the owners of Chippenham Park and this is what they do sometimes. There is the final snowdrop day at Chipepnham Park tomorrow – well worth a visit.
To clarify my new findings I discovered this detailed article on The Times Online. Once the seeds turn from green to black it’s time to reach for your strimmer or harvest the seeds.
I’ll be definitely trying this later in the spring as our aconites are a bit shy about mingling without introductions in our garden.
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