Courtyard Gardener : Cutting Corners #courtyardgarden #pelargoniums @Mishaherwin @CorrineLeith @JillsBookCafe @tottielimejuice @Paulagrainger @JillsBookCafe ·

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the late autumn I took cuttings from my three scented-leaf pelargoniums. These are old plants bought back in the last century! (i.e. at some point in the late 1990’s) from the National Herb Centre   near Banbury. If you have a chance, once lockdown has ended, and you have an interest in herb growing, or even just want a day out, this place is well worth a visit. (Pic 1 from last april) Three plants in their matching pots.

I purchased one pepper, one rose and one lemon-scented plant and have been repotting and rejuvenating them ever since. Like all pelargoniums they are not frost-hardy. They hate being kept wet and don’t tolerate shade well but they are fabulous as patio plants in pots. Not showy, the flowers are quite small, but have a consistent display from april through to the first frosts. Every autumn they are cut back, repotted in plastic pots (for weight on the table!) and stored in the shed, and cuttings are taken as an insurance against them not surviving winter.  At the moment my three mother plants (Pic 2) are just starting to regrow from the rather drastic hair cut that I gave them at the end of the season.  Every spring they are repotted in ceramic pots and go back out into the courtyard for a new year of scent-sation.

The leaves can be dried for pot pourri, esp the rose and lemon scented varieties. But I tend to simply enjoy them as a sensory plant to be brushed against in those drowsy days of summer.

Today I decided that last year’s cuttings were getting out of hand and really needed potting up. (Pic 3)

So off out to the shed to repot them all, cutting off the larger leaves so that the new plants could concentrate on strong growth. (pic 4) I am using peat free compost so will be interested to see how they thrive.

In addition to cutting off larger leaves I also took advantage of the wild amount of growth and took cuttings of the cuttings! (pic 5) now occupying the space their ‘parents’ had on the cuttings nursery in my conservatory.

It might seem a lot of work but I can’t begin to imagine how many extra plants I have created from those first three in the 20+ years I have had them. I have not idea how many of the dozens I have given away are still growing on, other than my original three, but one thing for sure is that they were well worth the buying. This year’s spares will end up in the allotment spring plant sale.

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