Planting Perfection One Cutting at a Time
--by patjos, posted May 8, 2022
Later in the year, I’ll collect crab apples, brambles, raspberries, rose hips and elderberries and if I remember some elderflowers to make cordial. The rest will go towards jams, wine and chutneys.
As it’s become ‘My Walk', I’ve also cleared up most of the litter from the roadside verge, mostly for my own benefit, but I know that others must enjoy it being litter free too.
I’ve noticed too that there are stretches of grass verge where there are no shrubs growing, which is a shame as the wee animals and birds could be hiding there or making their homes.
Last year I considered planting hawthorn along the verges, but raising them from cuttings or seed seems to take two years which put me off! However, walking along there earlier in the year I decided to plant some daffodil bulbs which I had spare in my garden. These went in the ground at the very start of my walk. Next it was time to split and plant some clumps of snowdrops, just little clumps here and there over a quarter of a mile or so.
Then I noticed two rogue buddleia growing out of a pavement edge in the nearby car park so I transplanted them at either end of a little road bridge crossing a stream. This brought my attention to some pussy willow that was growing there. Well, we all know how easy it is to root willow so I took a few cuttings and transplanted them further along the stream where the banks had eroded.
Which in turn finally made me think about which other shrubs were growing nearby and a quick internet search told me that Elder (sambucus) would root as easily as willow. Off I went into one of my foraging areas and found a lot of elder which had put on shoots of spring growth.
I’ve cut a about 50 without taking more than a single branch from any one shrub and divided these into suitable lengths.
These days my walks also include looking for likely gaps in the hedgerows and planting an elder or two straight into the soil, coming back later to water them.
What a joy! I have since taken softwood cuttings from wild roses and made willow tea as a rooting agent. Today on our walk I managed to gather half a dozen teeny holly saplings from under an old holly bush. I have plans for those verges!
I have been rewarded with lots of wildlife sightings, a vole next to where I was planting, a heron on a roof, another startled me by a stream, a raven, and a sparrowhawk having its lunch at the expense of a wee blackbird. Our neighbourhood hedgehog is back from hibernation too!