Updates: Moving On

It’s been a while since I last posted so this post will be a general update. I finished working at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens at the end of August. Following this I moved to Edinburgh to study at the RBGE. The next four years will be spent on a degree.

I hoped to continue blogging but was caught out by the workload of my first term. I guess a appropriate new years resolution would be to blog more. This really should be the case. I’m currently on break from my studies and staying at Great Dixter. After this I’m heading to the USA. Both locations should provide plenty to photograph and share.

Over the next few weeks I will update my blog information and share more posts.

Above: Hydrangea quercifolia at Great Dixter

Fouquieria columnaris, Transplanting 

The Fouquieria columnaris is in bad health. I was suspicious it was a planting depth issue. That is the case. The photo below shows the original depth and the depth the plant was potted to.

Potting like this causes the plants stem to rot. It’s incredibly important to be precise when working with plants. F. columnaris is a rare plant occurring in just two regions of Mexico. The value of the gardens collection makes good care even more important. The photos below show the unhappy F. columnaris before and after repotting.

Ananas comosus, Micropropagation

Yesterday me and Kady (Curatorial scholar) visited the Palestine Polytechnic University. Dr Rami Arafeh gave us a tour of the micropropagation lab. If you are interested in trying micropropagation, here is a link to a protocol. Rami was kind enough to give us a jar of Ananas comosus which he had propagated. Photos below show the growing room and the A. comosus being transplanted.

Peperomia vestita var. lindenii

Peperomia vestita var. lindenii is one of my favourite plants. Something about its shape and texture I really love. In the garden we had one plant. I divided it into three. Smaller divisions can be taken in future but for now decent sized plants are required. The photos below show the division, to me it looks like I ended up with three plants as big as the origina!


Cyphostemma bainesii 

Until coming to the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens my exposure to arid climate plants was limited. Working on the JBG’s arid tropical collection has been hugely valuable. The collection contains some beautiful species.
Cyphostemma bainesii is one of those species. C. bainseii is a succulent shrub or tree up to four metres. This species in native to Namibia. I find this species particularly cool because it is a member of the Vitaceae family, as is Vitus sp. (Grapes). Vitaceae contains two genera which have some succulent species, Cyphostemma and Cissus. A good example of convergent evolution, based on climate.
The C. bainesii at the garden are only young. They are also in a poorly draining growing medium. Succulent species dislike damp roots, so the medium must be free draining. Today I potted our plants on and used a more free draining medium. Photos below show the medium (before then after) and the repotting.

Philodendron erubescens ‘Red Emerald’, Cuttings

Philodendrons propagate easily with vegative methods.Cuttings were taken from Philodendron erubescens ‘Red Emerald’ three weeks ago. They have all rooted through. Today they were potted on. 

P. ‘Red Emerald’ has brilliant red stems and petioles. It’s a vigorous trailing or climbing plant. The cuttings were move into six litre pots because of this species vigour. The pots will be full in a month. Photos below.

Tropical Glasshouse Progress pt2

Things are moving quickly now. The walkway is being prepared for concrete. When it’s set, the frame can be removed and  the growing media can come in. Plants need to be in before winter and the budget is tight, thankfully things are progressing well. Photos below.

Tetrastigma voinierianum, Cuttings 

The large lianas are a hugely important part of the Tropical collection. These plants will quickly cover hard surfaces in the glasshouse and soften the edges. A big component of the lianas in the collection are the Hoyas, shown in previous posts.
A number of the other liana species are members of the Vitaceae family. One of those is Tetrastigma voinierianum. Native to Laos and Northern Vietnam this species populates tropical rainforest areas. T. voinierianum has large waxy leaves in a shape much like what’s found in Vitis. This species is fast growing so should soon fill space in the glasshouse. Below are the plants in the nursery.

Cuttings of two nodes in length were taken 8 weeks ago. They have rooted so were potted into 3l pots. Sadly I don’t have photos of the cuttings before striking, below are photos of the rooted cuttings and the potted plants. Leaves should form soon.

These cuttings rooted easily (95% success) with very little attention. No rooting hormone was used and the cuttings were kept under a propagation bench, in the shade. I probably should have added osmocote to the tubes of cuttings at week six, to stimulate shooting. That would have been optimal. 

Agathis robusta, Softwood Cuttings 

Conifers can be difficult to propagate vegetatively. Even if they root freely, it tends to take a while. In the glasshouse there is an old specimen of Agathis robusta, but it’s in poor condition. The trees main stem was cut down to around 40cm, the plant is just a stump with some young shoots.
This plant is unlikely to form a new leader and grow into a strong tree. Because of this it would be good to propagate it. The fresh growth lends itself well to cuttings, so today some were taken. All the cuttings are tips for maximum rooting potential. Cuttings are four nodes long, dipped in rooting hormone, potted nine per 11cm pot. Photos below.

Agathis robusta is a large (50m) evergreen conifer. Agathis is a genus in the Auricariaceae family, British readers will know Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle tree) as it is a commonly cultivated family member. A. robusta grows in Queensland and has two known populations, its uncommon in cultivation. Hopefully the cuttings take as this is a great species to have. Probably more use in the Tropical Australia section than the glasshouse though. A full sized tree below.

Not my image, link to creator.

Hoya Leaf cuttings 

The final Hoya species left to propagate is H. aff. Mcgregorii. The plant has large, attractive leaves. From reading limited accounts online the plant should also have fragrant flowers. The Garden has one small specimen. 
Hoyas root easily from a single node so leaf cuttings with a small section of stem were taken. The cutting is inserted into an 11cm pot at an angle. The medium level should be just above the leaf base. To find out if the flowers are as described, one stem was left on the plant, this should flower soon. The photos below show H. aff. Mcgregorii and the cuttings.