Propagation is a big part of what we do in Suffolk. Growing and propagating plants gives us the opportunity to raise money, and fulfill our aim of teaching and plant conservation. The plants we raise at our monthly propagation sessions, we sell at events and plant fairs. We are committed to ‘Conserving Plants Through Cultivation’. We run a number of conservation projects within the group, details of which you will find below.
This scheme is run by the national office and operates across the country. Members can register a plant they are growing in their own garden, if it is rare. Rare is defined as being available at 2 or fewer nurseries as listed in the RHS Plantfinder. It’s an opportunity for ‘hands on’ plant conservation. For more details, see the National Office Plant Guardian page.
Each month we hold a propagating morning. At these sessions we have a variety of activities. Our aim is to increase our knowledge, and produce plants that can be sold at events and plant fairs.
We have talks from National Collection Holders who pass on their expert knowledge about propagating the genus they collect. We also work on rare plant material we have identified for conservation. Some of this material comes to us via the national Plant Exchange.
Narcissus & Galanthus Project
Both these genera are propagated by splitting up the bulbs or ‘twin-scaling’. We teach this technique each year in June. Rare bulbs of both genera have be tracked down, twin scaled and sold at events. The projects have been based on two breeders, Engleheart and Backhouse, with both narcissus breeders and snowdrops that have a particular connection to Suffolk just some of the project themes.
Hyacinth bulb scooping
Alan Shipp NCH taught us how to scoop bulbs, and the pictures below show our results. It took several years to achieve the flowering size bulbs in the picture.
The idea for this project came from a study day held a few years ago. Sarah Cook, National Collection Holder and member of the group, took the study day, and leads the project. We have selected 5 breeders who worked from 1920s through to the 1950s. Our aim is to find, propagate and reintroduce as many of their cultivars as we can. The breeders are: Dykes; Pilkington; Chadburn; Murrell; and Long. The project has located 3 Murrell cultivars and propagated them, and we have them for sale at various events. We have in the pipeline cultivars from the other breeders, and these will be available for sale in the next year or so. We plan to keep searching.
Eucomis Leaf Cuttings
In July 2014 we took leaf cuttings from various species and cultivars of eucomis. We followed the instructions from the National Collection holder Ian Hunt. 2-3 months later some but not all were showing sign of growth, both root and top growth. These were potted on as you can see in the pictures below. You can see the original leaf cutting, which is beginning to turn brown and die. At soil level the new bulb is starting to form and new shoots sprouting forth. In the pic of the tray of cuttings, it is clear to see some have grown better than others. The cuttings which aven’t rooted yet, but still alive are being looked after and we are waiting to see what happens.
The Stock Plant Programme
This programme encourages members to grow plants, chosen by the group, in their garden. Once the chosen plant is established, we ask them to bring some of it back to the group, for one of our
propagating days. The member learns how to propagate the plant, and the group receives plant material for selling.
The propagating sessions are run by Anne Tweddle and Maggie Thorpe. They are open to all members, but we ask that you book a place. The dates for 2019 are:
Tuesday January 15th
Wednesday February 13th
Thursday March 14th
Tuesday April 16th
Wednesday May 15th
Thursday June 13th
Wednesday July 17th
Wednesday August 14th
Thursday September 12th
Wednesday October 16th
Wednesday November 13th