Friday, July 27, 2018

Plant Propagation – You will learn a lot about gardening, plants, and your own disposition.

Making cuttings --  the fastest way to get a mature plant.  The ideal time to do this is in the spring and summer when plants are actively growing, although it’s not impossible to do in winter, if you want to use “woody” cuttings.  Also, the easiest part of a plant to start cuttings from is the actively growing upper part, rather than the mature (woody) base.
The First, Second, Third and Fourth parts of growing from cuttings is very much the same as those parts we discussed last month for seedlings.  Prepare your pots, paying attention to soil texture, nutrient levels, and mold.  You will want to prepare and have ready, containers to receive cuttings before you actually cut, --  the cuttings need to have a clean, fresh cut which can absorb nutrients and water.  Just a note about putting cuttings in water rather than soil . . . roots developed in water are not the same as roots developed in soil, so if you start out in water, the cutting will have to start all over again after you transfer it to soil.  (I know, . . . I didn’t believe it either until I extensively, and skeptically researched it.)
Fifth, when you make cuttings, be sure that you a stem long enough to include “leaf nodes” which should be buried beneath the soil – this is where roots begin.  Also, strip all the leaves except for a very few at the top.  This cuts down on a now rootless plant trying to support big leaf structures. 
Sixth, cultivate extreme patience !!!  It may take weeks for roots to develop, and you don’t want to disturb this growing environment until there is an abundance of roots. To test whether roots are being formed, give your cutting a slight tug – if there is resistance, it tells you that roots are holding the plant.  At that point, you can pop the cutting out of its pot and check to see if there is a whole network of white hair-like roots.
Seventh, it is probably too soon to plant directly into the soil, so transplant to a larger pot and give your new plant some more light and back off on the moisture.  By poking your finger into the soil, you should be able to see if its dry down about an inch – then it’s time to water.
Last Step is to transfer your healthy plant to its final destination.

Another adaptation to this method is what I call the “brick method” . . . bend down a stem until you can bury it in the ground (but still keeping it attached to the mother plant).  Scape the stem as before, bury it, place a heavy weight on top and declare that weight to be off limits to everybody.  Go off and leave the plant for a couple of months.  When it is firmly attached to the ground, cut it from its mother and transplant it to its preferred destination.  This is my favorite means of propagation !!

Submitted by -

Martha Dysart

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Master Gardeners Appreciation Celebration for Terry Del Valle

Terry Del Valle, Horticulture Extension Agent at UF/IFAS Duval County Extension, was honored by the Master Gardeners of the Mandarin Demonstration Gardens and Heritage Gardens, at Mandarin Garden Club on June 20, 2018. Terry has served in this position for 35 years and is retiring in November. She has given 30 years of dedication and support by providing Master Gardener Volunteers to maintain the demonstration Gardens for Duval County.

Terry was presented with a plaque honoring her years of service and work with the Master Gardeners of Duval County. A plaque celebrating her work with Mandarin Garden Club and the Demonstration Gardens has been placed in the club’s Native Garden (the front garden.) Good food, beautiful flowers, a lovely cake and much fellowship was enjoyed by all who attended the celebration.
In 1988 Mary Howe, a garden club member and Master Gardener, suggested the club invite The Duval County Extension Office to use the Club’s grounds as demonstration gardens. Thus, begin the partnership between Mandarin Garden Club and Terry Del Valle for the next thirty years.
The Master Gardeners work in the demonstration gardens twice a month (and sometimes more often.) By working in the gardens, the Master Gardeners learn which plants grow best in our soil and weather. How to combat harmful insects and how much water is really needed. They can then pass this knowledge and expertise along to the community.
The celebration for Terry was a special way for the Master Gardeners to honor her and her work. The plaque erected in the Native Garden not only honors Terry but all the Master Gardeners who have worked under Terry for 35 years.
Terry is looking forward to retirement, but she also expressed to me “she hopes she can find enough things to do to keep her busy.” I bet she finds her way back to Mandarin Garden Club and the Heritage Gardens after some relaxation time.
You will be missed Terry! But your legacy of work will go on for years to come.

Pictures courtesy of - Candace Barone and Deb Campbell

Article submitted by Betty Waldrep