The CBD guide to shooting yourself in the foot

Rodger Whitlock
Sun, 11 Sep 2011 10:13:36 PDT
On 11 Sep 2011, at 9:32, Peter Taggart wrote:

> The actions of responsable conservators not 'keeping all their eggs in one
> basket'

That's a well known principle even amongst mere hobby gardeners. E. A. Bowles 
makes a point in one of his books that it's a wise gardener who shares his 
special plants freely, so that when *his* specimen dies, others will be in a 
position to replace it.

Example, though not geophytic: There's a lovely pink, 'Salmon Clove', famous 
for living up to its name with its salmon-colored flowers and their strong 
scent of cloves. I acquired this plant a good 30 years ago from one of the Old 
Dears™ in the local horticultural society. Somewhere along the line I lost it, 
though whether from an overly wet winter, simple neglect, or failure to renew 
it via cuttings I can't say.

Last year a long-time gardening buddy asked me if I'd like a start of it. My 
eyes went wide and yes yes yes was the answer: I'd clean forgotten about it 
with the passage of time.

He must have had it for over twenty years, keeping it going.

My plant is flourishing, has been flowering all summer long, and I've had the 
gumption to start a bunch of cuttings: pinks gradually go woody and peter out 
so restarting them from cuttings is essential to keeping them going.

Moral: be generous with your plants, especially the rarities that it took a 
long time to acquire! Sub-moral: but not indiscriminately generous. There are 
plenty of hobby gardeners with a gimme-gimme attitude who think they are 
entitled to a start of anything and everything, but who do not have the skill, 
experience, and conditions necessary for successful growth. *That* type 
deserves a fishy-eyed gaze when they beg for things they don't really 

Ida Bennett, in her book "The Flower Garden", offers some amusing advice on 
handling the gimme-gimme type: when they "accidentally" break off a twig and 
ask if they can have it as a cutting, reply, "Oh, gee, I'm glad you reminded 
me. I've been meaning to take cuttings of that. Here, let me have it." And then 
dibble it directly into the ground.

So spread your plants around; that way, when your garden is flattened by a 
meteorite or a rampageous dinosaur, you won't lose your treasures.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

More information about the pbs mailing list