Erik’s pansies put on a colourful show. (Erik Jacobsen photo)

Erik’s pansies put on a colourful show. (Erik Jacobsen photo)

Alternatives for geranium cuttings and a fruity surprise

The gardening tipster gets some tips of his own from friends

Last week I wrote about how to take cuttings from geraniums. This week a friend of mine explained there are other ways to start the cuttings.

One was to dip them in hormone powder and plant them right away.

Another way was just to set the cuttings in a container of water and watch the roots form. Have fun with whatever method you use.

It is also possible to save the “mother plant.” Use the same planting method explained below. One more option is to dig the geranium plants up before the first frost. Then remove all flower stems. Then find a shallow plastic container. You can place it in a cool but frost-free space out of the way, and no light is needed.

LAST WEEK: Summer geraniums almost ready for cuttings

If you have compost or peat Moss, fill the container with just enough to cover the plant roots. Then make it only barely moist and plant the geraniums plants.

It is vital not to let the plants dry out during the winter months, or they will die.

Geraniums do not have four seasons, as they can flower twelve months of the year. Therefore, if you would like colours in the living room, this is possible by transplanting the geraniums into pots.

Years back, I noticed a group of seedlings on my walkway. They turned out to be pansies. Because pansies like shade, I planted them in shaded planter boxes. It became a terrific show.

The rest of the pansies I planted in a flower bed and reproduced seedlings for the following year. All that was required was thinning them out.

MORE GARDENERS CORNER: More tips for fall and winter garden prep

The plum tree I planted last year had a surprise for me the other day. Over the last few months, I have trimmed back most of the new growth. As a result, the plum tree’s trunk has nearly doubled in size, and the branches have become much stronger.

When I checked to see if any newer growth should be trimmed off, I noticed two plums.

I have enjoyed harvesting and eating my carrots from the vegetable garden. This is like “digging in a goldmine” and being remarkably successful. As the tree leaves drop on the lawns rather than raking them up and taking them to the landfill, the following is an option.

Most lawn mowers have a setting called mulching. This setting can be used for both grass clippings and leaves. As leaves decompose, they release essential nutrients into the soil, part of a nutrient cycle that is required by healthy ecosystems where deciduous trees and shrubs dominate.

But leaves do even more than that. Decaying leaves help to retain moisture in the soil and capture rainwater to infiltrate and supply the grassroots. Mulching, on the other hand, is much easier, and one can drink a cup of coffee while doing it. However, I will not recommend this.

If you have questions or suggestions for topics, please email me at

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