Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Air Layering: First Attempt

A rose this ridiculous needs to be shared with the world. It's colour is exceptional, it's scent is pure nostrilisation. Also, the bush itself is about a hundred years old and looks a little worse for wear. As I find nurturing cuttings time consuming, I thought I'd have a go at 'air layering'. Its a nifty little trick where the cutting continues to grow on the bush while it gets busy making new roots. If all goes well I should have a new rose, ready to plant in about 8 weeks.
When gardening it's always sensible to have more tools and implements than necessary. I did however use every one of these including the feline claw cutters which took the tips of the rose thorns.
I have been eyeing of this shoot for quite some time. It ticked all the boxes for air layering as it was straight, vigorous and minimally thorned. It was just a matter of waiting for the massive rose on top of it to do its thing so I could lop it off and get on with it.
The first step was to remove the excess lower leaves and de-claw the stalk. The cut takes place below the first five-lobed leaf.
This device was a moment of brilliance if I do say so. Its a frame to hold the layering material cut out of some 70mm pvc tubing.
Now this is the business bit. Two parallel cuts around the stem, about an inch apart and half an inch below one of the buds. Next a long cut down the stem and the bark/cambium layer just peels off! I am following instructions but I do find it odd that you're supposed to remove the outer layers the whole way round. Its my understanding that its the outer layers that supply water and nutrients and without them how does it continue to grow? Time will tell.
A dusting of rooting hormone follows, to get the stalk in the mood.
The device in action. Definitely helping to maintain a uniform cylinder shape.
The air layering podule is complete. The filling is sphagnum moss thoroughly soaked in water.
The final coat was added the next day. The aluminium foil will keep things nice and dark, the way things tend to be underground. Also it should provide a measure of insulation.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Apple Leaf Problem

An unidentified leaf issue has appeared on one of the apple trees. Just as with all other tree problems that involve yellowing leaves this one is mysterious and annoying. The game starts when you take a photo of your yellowing leaf and start comparing it to pictures of other yellowing leaves you find on the internet which are always slightly different. In the end you give up and just start adding more and more things to the soil in the vain hope it will go away. The only leaf yellowing condition I have turned up so far for apples is Apple Cedar Rust, a condition that can occur when apples are grow near cedar trees? Somehow I don't think so, there isn't a cedar arboretum nearby to my knowledge. Time to start adding things to the soil.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

More Roses

Bee personal space infringement

I have now decided definitively that bees do not like having their picture take. As soon as the lens looms near they bugger off to a different flower and if you bother them sufficiently, a different tree all together. I took about 200 photos over the afternoon and these six were the pick of the crop. I don't think I've ever seen bees with such weighty pollen baskets of their hind legs and I'm curious to know where they are taking it. Are there suburban bee hives like those weird people who keep pigeons and let them out once a day to fly around in circles? The apple tree that they were so enamored with was the Summer Strawberry, star producer of 2011 and most prolific bloomer of all the apple trees I'm growing. Summer Strawberry would make an excellent supplementary graft to other apples to provide pollen. One day I will be allowed to have my own bees.

Sunday, October 7, 2012