02 December, 2015

Plant Propagation for Gardeners Starts in January

No, I am not smoking - I have a part of a plant
in my mouth to keep it moist before grafting.

It seems amazing that it's already time to think about making new plants from old, but here we are looking at Winter Quarter for 2016.  I teach about four different courses for UCLA Extension and of all the classes I teach, the one I enjoy the most, is Plant Propagation.  

In the first place, I have always been a seed starter and now the whole thing with seeds has become so important to me in so many different ways, it is a joy to share these wonderful living pieces, and their amazing abilities and significance.  The mystery of starting plants from seeds is dispelled and we learn to unlock their secrets.  

There are many other ways to make new plants that are very easy to do once you know the why and the how.  We cover that as well.  And it's really cool when you can make six new rose bushes in a few minutes (and waiting a few months!).  

More than all else, though, for me, is grafting.  I love grafting and there is a story I tell about getting hooked into grafting.  It was a very unusual graft you won't see very often. I have lived for the opportunity to try it and if all goes according to my plans, we will get to do in this edition of Plant Propagation.  I have never had this chance before and may never have again - so this is a once in a lifetime opportunity!  

This is the book on grafting.  Unlike all the more modern, pretty picture books, this one tells you about every single kind of graft for every single purpose possible!  An amazingly thorough and comprehensive book, it has no equal - none that come close.  It has been around, in one form or another, since the 1800's. Out of print as of 2003, I begged Chelsea Green Publishing to bring this book back and they did!  I have all the other books, you can see them if you wish, but spend your money on this and you will thank me for it.  

If you don't already have a knife and a pair of pruners, don't buy any until you've been through the first lecture of this course - we'll talk about the different knives and pruners and you can put your hands on them and see how each feels to you. 

The other book I use in this course is this one.  It is not a particularly fascinating read, but it has these charts you can refer to whenever confronted with a plant to propagate and no data on how it's done.  A good reference book on your shelf if you do any amount of propagation.

This class is a great deal of fun for everyone and a learning experience unlike most classes these days:  you get the data you need in one minute and the next minute you are applying that data to a living plant and changing it's life! 

These are skills that were common among a majority of the people of the world just a generation or two ago, but now, only a select few who know this material and can put it to use! It is really satisfying and magical when you become one of the ones in the know!

Classes meet at The Learning Garden, on the campus of Venice High School where we have abundant material to work with .  The class is  sessions long, meeting on Sundays, 1 to 5:00 PM, starting in January on the 10th.  

There is still some space left - sign up while you can!  Hey, what a great Christmas present - for yourself even!  Register through UCLA Extension here.



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