When Macbeth heard news that his forest was moving, he threatened to hang the messenger on one of the trees.
In my orchard the trees are constantly moving; they are in containers. A number of them have found new homes with my friends – some had grown too big for my small space, others were cutting grown or air layered for sharing. Some failed to thrive and ended in the compost heap. Still others are plain fussy and demand a new spot every few months, to follow the sun.
The recent exodus included an air-layered fig tree, one that was created on national TV. One minute I was chatting to the host of the show about my orchard, next minute he was asking me to do a demo of the technique. I am happy to report that within weeks the branch had rooted into the damp sphagnum moss and has now left ‘home’ – delivered from its mother and replanted. It now lives, with its companion, an air layered Curry Leaf tree, in the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown.
Propagation is the easiest way to obtain plants for free. My friend Branda asked me about growing ginger, spring onions and garlic the other day. They are the ones that can go from kitchen to garden as well as the other way around.
When a garlic clove grows a green centre, stick it in soil – the green is delicious even if you don’t have the climate for garlic. Put it in a pot and snip the shoots for garnish.
Spring onions come with roots attached – how easy is that? As you cut them off, leave a short length of white and plant them; they are also cut-and-come-agains.
Often you buy a lump of ginger and you can’t use all of it. There are way to preserve the rest but why not plant it? The leaves are fragrant; new ginger roots are tender and sweet but if you leave it till the leaves die back, you get a harvest of older roots that will keep well, wrapped in paper and kept in a cool place.
My trees move regularly, so do my surplus plants. I am addicted to propagation and I must make room.
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4072376.htm – a video on part of my urban orchard