Slippery slopes

Just in time for winter to finally look and feel more like a proper winter, Gail and I are sliding headfirst towards spring. We started the new year by looking through magazine back issues for inspiration. (Do you do that too? It’s as if I never saw them before – and in some cases I hadn’t. Who has time to read anything in May and June – or October for that matter?) And in the last couple of weeks we’ve moved along to seed catalogs. At first it seemed like there was nothing new and then suddenly everything old was new again and everything forgotten was remembered fondly and wanted desperately. The more we go through the catalogs making choices, the more our momentum and excitement builds, so much that it’s hard to know when to quit.

Same thing with taking cuttings – but then I always have a hard time not taking more than we need if there are more to take. I started whacking back the scented geraniums (Pelargonium, that is) yesterday and it’s a good thing we have a plan for these next year, because we’ll have plenty of plants now thanks to me being obsessive about sticking every possible cutting.

Pelargonium are so easy to root and now is a fine time if you haven’t cut yours back yet. Take the growing tips and prepare them by cutting below the second or third leaf node from the tip. Cut that leaf off right at the stem and then place the cutting end-out of a plastic bag for a day. They root more reliably if the wound has a chance to callous first. Once the cut looks dry and slightly crusted, dust or dip it in rooting hormone and stick in dampened perlite, vermiculite or sand – whatever you like to use for rooting. If the remaining leaves are large, cut them in half to reduce transpiration. Keep them out of direct sun and theĀ  medium from drying out. A few weeks waiting should do the trick.

Are you sliding down a slippery slope to spring too? Are you ordering more seeds or taking more cuttings yet than you have room for?