I think of April as the ’emerald month’ because it’s the time of the year where everything is bursting into growth in anticipation of delivering the most amazing display in the coming months. It’s the sheer number of different shades of green from the deep green of the evergreen clematis Armandii to the lime green of the Acer’s.
It’s at this time of the year we’re preparing for the busy period ahead which basically revolves around striking this years softwood cuttings from mid May through to the end of June.
If you want success with cuttings then there are two things to remember.
- Use a free draining medium like sharp sand or a combination of sharp sand and compost.
- Keep the cuttings moist under some form of mist system.
One of our readers wrote the other day and said “don’t you have to have lots of money to start your own plant business?
My answer is absolutely not! We’re starting small to limit the financial risk and we’re only prepared to invest what we’re prepared to lose which is as little as possible!
Honestly you really don’t need to spend lots of money to get started and in the coming weeks and months we’re going to show you how you can get started with very little investment.
Talking of clematis Armandii ours has just finished flowering.
Of all the flowering clematis I think Armandii has the most intoxicating scent and it’s an evergreen so will give you a glossy green backdrop in the winter. Throw in to the mix a plant that’s really easy to propagate and you have almost the perfect plant!
At the moment we’re busy potting up last years rooted cuttings which have gone through the winter pretty much unscathed and produced some serious roots.
It’s our third year and we’ll be potting our two year old plants up ready for selling in the summer.
We’ve learnt loads over the last 3 years about raising and selling plants, but most of all we’ve realised customers buy with their eyes. By that I mean they want plants with flowers and preferably with a scent. There are of course the old stand by’s like evergreens, box hedging, the conifers etc … but in the main people want colour and as much of it as you can give them!
Tip for anyone starting out growing plants for profit … Seek out one or two unusual varieties of a plant species and make your customers aware you stock the plants, or if you don’t now you will in the future. Most important of all make sure the plants you raise and sell are not protected by Plant Breeders Rights.
Other stuff we’ve been up to in April.
We’ve changed the layout of the bottom plot this year to make way for the new outbuilding which has meant we’ve had to shift the cutting bed and the compost heaps. Also created a dedicated work area adjacent to the polytunnel as it felt more central to nursery.
I’ve also been top dressing my borders and beds with a good mulch of compost. My neighbour swears by it and every year she buys eight bags of conditioner and adds it to the surface of the soil. She doesn’t dig it in but instead let’s the worms drag it down over the course of the year. You’d never believe her garden was on chalk as the soil has turned into this gorgeous friable soil AND growing very nice rhododendrons. On chalk yes!
The Acer’s are waking up and putting on some good growth now.
I bought these as small 10 inch plants on EBay in early 2013 for £6 each and just a year they are starting to look like great little plants.
Just as soon as any sign of frost has passed they can moved from the polytunnel to sheltered position outside.
Also spotted our old friend the Goldfinch on the feeders this week.
Really busy time now for us with all that’s going on in the garden but will try and post again soon.
As always please feel free to drop us a comment with any questions.