Thornless Blackberry Propagation

An all-too-familiar experience, I stumbled upon a solution to problem I didn’t know I even had! Months ago, I purchased 5 Thornless Triple Crown Blackberry plants. In their first season at my home, they produced a few fruits, which I was quite grateful for, but wasn’t expecting anything more than their simply acclimating to their new home in large containers in my back yard.

We’d had an unusually wet winter in our area and gardening would have been a muddy affair, so I let nature and my plants alone for most of that time. The sunny days of spring here have revealed to me that some of these 5 plants decided to propagate themselves during that time. The canes of the plants grew quite long and the tips of some of the plants had reached and dipped into the soil of a few of the adjoining containers, while others dipped into the outside the containers directly into the surrounding raw soil of my garden. This propagation technique, whether done on purpose by the gardener or by nature is called tip layering (more information on several kinds of layering techniques:

Check out the roots forming at the tip of a cane that wandered into another container. I severed it from the parent plant so both can continue growing in their containers and will (hopefully) be thriving and fruitful. The second photo is the wandering canes that found their new homes in  the raw garden soil, which will also (hopefully) find great happiness in their new homes.

I am so grateful for these unexpected learning opportunities since now, it seems, I will likely have all of the blackberry plants and blackberries I can possibly handle in the near and distant future. It’s such an awesome and humbling thing when good fortune, such as this, just shows up. I’m exquisitely pleased!


Succulent: Purple Aeonium Awash in Aerial Roots

The centerpiece of my backyard garden, a bountiful purple aeonium, now has many aerial roots. This wonderful succulent is nearly five feet in height and three feet in width, thriving. This is one of the plants in my garden that I imagine will be with me for my entire life, which is so amazing.  But the comparatively rapid development of these aerial or air roots indicate that it may be time to start reducing the size of this plant, to prevent the weight and underground roots of the large plant from over-stressing it. In other words, it’s time to propagate this aeonium! In the past, I’ve put in a tall metal shepherd’s hook and used plastic garden ties to support some of the rosette-heavy branches, to reduce the stress, but the plant is saying that additional supports are not sufficient to reduce the stress on it.IMG_3332

In June 2014, I’d noticed the aerial roots (  beginning to form. Now, they’ve developed enough to indicate that it’s time to find a new place in the back yard to “further the dynasty” of the purple aeonium. In the past few months, I’ve planted a few of fallen rosettes and they have taken to their location, just across from the primary parent plant. In the next few weeks, I will begin the process of  additional culling some branches from the parent plant. The parent plant will appreciate this effort and it won’t be long, I’m sure, before this new aeonium location will explode with healthy growth. Although, I must say, the aerial roots are quite lovely.


Chinese Flame Tree Maintenance

I’ve enjoyed many fine years of beauty and shade from my two Chinese flame trees planted along the parkway. But keep in mind that these trees require some maintenance, primarily because they are deciduous trees. Once each autumn, there is a one-two day wind event that clears out most leaves, tiny branches, and paper lantern seed pods from my Chinese flame trees. Slow and steady? No way! Essentially, most of my year’s maintenance of these trees happens all at once after this wind event! And the results land mostly on my lawn and a small bit on my neighbor’s lawn. This year’s wind event happened a few days ago.IMG_3327IMG_3328IMG_3329

This tree is a survivor and will make every effort to propagate itself, so you’ll have to be vigilant unless you want your own private forest of Chinese flame trees. It all starts with the paper lantern seed pods. Check out the two dark round seeds in the center of the photo. This is a seed pod that has broken open. If there is enough moisture in your area and a bunch of these seeds make contact with the soil of your lawn, you’ll likely be spending time pulling out seedlings from your lawn, which, if left unchecked, will become their own stand-alone trees. In other words, it can become a weed. My area is generally very dry so it’s not really an issue.

My city maintains the trees and recently trimmed some branches that were growing near the base and elsewhere. As shown, a new sucker has appeared at the cut. If that sucker is left to grow unchecked, it will become a branch. How do I know this? The branch that was cut started as a sucker, just like this one!

In the end, there are trade-offs with this tree, which I love. The tree may be a good choice if you love a beautiful, showy shade tree in the warm months and you live in a relatively dry area.



Dragon Tree: Branches Cut

Prompted by my recent visit from a termite inspector, I successfully cut a few small branches from my dragon trees. I took 3 branches from the larger tree and 1 branch from the smaller tree. These branches were growing towards my roof. This project was a preventive measure against a costly roof repair. I returned minutes ago from my home improvement store with an electric chain saw that I rented from them (Makita, 16 inch). The person at the store was very kind and gave me brief instructions and I was on my way. The time I spent actually cutting the branches was probably around 5 minutes. The overall integrity and structure of both trees have been preserved. The photos also show before and after the cuts.


TIP: In the past, I would have called my tree guy to take care of something like this, but thinking about it, I wondered if I could just take care of it myself. Had I gone with the tree guy, it would have cost around $200-$250. With my first-ever effort with a chain saw, it cost the princely sum of $36.89.

It started to rain a bit by the clean-up, so I got a bit dirty and wet, which made it really fun. I’m wearing goggles and a pink hoodie and splattered with ground-up bits of tree branch. Now that’s a fantastic experience! Some folks shy away from the manual labor, but I love it. I came away from this experience with a new skill, which makes it very satisfying. It’s always great to pick up a useful and practical skill!

The branch cuttings: from previous experience, they can lay flat like that for several months and then planted into containers and root successfully. I will do that in the next weekend or even later. Dragon trees (and their cuttings) are quite resilient and strong, inspiring and always beautiful!

Purple Aeonium Fallen Branches Form a New Garden

In the past several days, my area has had rain and wind, which were catalysts to the breaking off of several branches of my purple aeoniums. Although a sad event, it is not an unexpected one since aeonium branches are not very strong. One too many rosettes and down they go. But these branches make for very easy propagation of new stand-alone purple aeonium plants. All you need to do is dig shallow holes in the ground, replace the dug-out soil, and water a bit so that the soil is moist but not soggy.IMG_3204

You can also simply place these broken branches into containers that contain potting soil and have stunning specimen plants. Check out my very “elaborate” support system to keep the newly planted branches from falling over – used plastic containers that have been stacked! Some of the broken branches had rosettes and others had fiery flower spikes. In a short time, these fallen branches will get taller and grow new rosettes, establishing a new purple aeonium garden.

Dragon Tree Cuttings Are Busting Out of Their Containers!

Nearly six years ago, I had several branches trimmed from my oldest, primary dragon tree because they were growing into the roof of my garage. I promptly put the cuttings into 5-gallon plastic containers filled with soil and watered every few weeks and left them in my back yard to enjoy their lives! And enjoy them they did, for I am happy to post these photos of two of these tree cuttings that are now stand-alone trees in their own right. Wow! They have grown not very much taller but have grown wider and have established new roots. I will eventually cut away the plastic containers that they have outgrown when it is safe to do so without damaging the trees. The tree cuttings were a bit curved and heavy so I placed them up against a long wood bench to help prop them up while they grew. It’s so exciting to see them grow.IMG_3198IMG_3199

One of these cuttings actually produces seed stalks, seeds from which totally new trees are born. It is so thrilling to know that I can propagate these trees from cuttings as well as from these seeds – a very simple process. These trees have a will to survive like I have not seen in most plants and it is inspiring to see that they can adapt to changing conditions, the epitome of resilience. Long live these beautiful dragon trees!

Chinese Flame Tree: Paper Lantern Seed Pods Germinate

My two Chinese flame trees are now showing signs of new green leaves. However, some of the dried-out paper lanterns from last year broke loose, sending seeds into various parts of my lawn and have germinated.IMG_3017

This coming weekend, I will be carefully removing these seedlings by hand. These seedlings can quickly become weeds if not managed.

I might consider saving these seedlings and grow them in containers to see if they might become viable trees.

Dr. Huey Rose to Be Cut and Propagated

At long last, today is the day I will be cutting the three Dr. Huey rose canes that have appeared on my hybrid tea rose, Sunblest, and transplanting elsewhere in the garden so that they will hopefully find a new life, ending its now parasitic relationship to the poor Sunblest rose. IMG_3006

As I had posted one year ago, I learned that the dark red Dr. Huey rose is frequently used as rootstock for roses that have weaker root systems. But, as shown here, it has the potential for overtaking its host, in this case, Sunblest, and likely killing it. These two roses are emanating from one rose plant!

Dr. Huey is beautiful and vigorous so I am hopeful that the cutting and transplantation will lead to a successful propagation of these roses, on a different side of the garden. The cut canes will be planted directly into the soil. I will be watering these transplanted cuttings daily in the early days, helping (and hoping that) they will establish themselves in their new location. Looking at this from a positive view, if the propagation is successful, I will have gotten new rose plants for the price of one!

Mulberry Tree Cutting: Buds Opening!

It’s been a little over a month since I posted about the petite green buds of my mighty,  single-branch mulberry tree cutting. I am absolutely thrilled to report that one of the bud cases has burst! Mulberry fruit IMG_2964 is in my future!

Contrast the bursting bud with the one above it – that one will surely follow suit, and soon.

I am very pleased that my friend’s tree cutting has been successfully propagated with this cutting. I hope that it will continue to thrive (and fruit) in the years to come.

More information on mulberry trees can be found here:

Mulberry Tree Cutting is Thriving!

A little over a month ago, a dear friend gifted me with tree-branch cuttings from her various fruit trees. I placed the cuttings directly into my bare garden soil and added water.  So far, it looks lIMG_2955ike the mulberry tree cutting has been successfully propagated, as evidenced by the healthy green buds. Hopefully, the other fruit tree cuttings will be just as successful. I don’t know when it will produce fruits, but I am happy that this tree-in-the-making has settled in happily. More information on mulberry trees can be found here:

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