This week we should be getting a delivery of prickly plants that we plan to use as vandal proofing for the front of our site. These are Rosa ‘Rambling Rector, a vigorous white flowering beautifully scented rose, Rosa sericea subsp. omiensis pteracantha, which has very impressive, attractive looking thorns, and lastly Rubus cockburnianus, an ornamental bramble. The plan is to plant these prickly specimens in the front borders allowing them to spread along the railing adding a prickly attractive exterior to the site.

We’ll be finishing the cleaning the upper greenhouses. The front has had a good clean with Jeyes’ fluid and now all we ned to do to get ready for next year’s propagation is to disinfect the other half.

We’ve made great progress with organising and cleaning our pots. They are now housed in the open sheds, in the section furthest from the kitchen. There are just a few more to sort and then we are ready for the new growing season!

In our woodland, we will be attending to the apple rootstocks we planted last year. These were MM106 which grows to 4-4.5m) and M26 (grows to 3-3.5m). We will be propagating by a method called stooling. This is something you can do with rootstocks from failed grafts or from any excess rootstocks you may have. We’ll be clearing the ground around our rootstocks and cutting them down to about 15cm in height.  Then we’ll wait until spring when a small cluster of shoots should sprout from the cut stem. When these shoots are about 15cm in height we will earth them up using fine compost. They will continue to be earthed up for the rest of the growing season.  These shoots will produce roots below soil level and these rooted shoots can be cut off at the end of the season, carefully planted and used as rootstocks for future grafting.

If you would like to read more about this technique you can follow this link