Call me thrifty but I love getting plants for free or very cheaply. It’s the Yorkshire part of me and that’s why I like growing plants from seed and taking cuttings, even if they take years longer to mature. Up until recently, saving on the cost of plants was a big motive.
Recently, I’ve realised that there is also another reason to sow seeds and take cuttings and that is insurance. One particular event highlights that quite well and it was from a while ago. I had bought two clematis plants. For all their ubiquity and popularity, clematis are still expensive garden plants and I don’t think I’ve spent more on anything else apart from possibly the wisteria.
They were both Clematis Montana and so very vigorous. However, the place I wanted to plant one of them was very exposed and a bit shady, the soil wasn’t brilliant either. I knew the clematis that went there would have a hard time getting established and I was right. It was planted in March and when the weather didn’t improve and the cold winds blew the “mile-a-minute” clematis really struggled and looked touch-and-go. Fearing I could lose the plant to the elements, I took two cuttings. I couldn’t take many as much of the plant had died back and I needed to leave some growth if it was to have any chance of survival.
Fast forward several months and that clematis did survive and is starting to grow again, albeit slowly. Of the two cuttings I managed to take, one has rooted and is also growing. Having that insurance policy in the form of a small cutting, protected in the greenhouse was very comforting as I knew that if I lost the main plant, I would have its identical clone ready to replace it. I may have a lost a year or two in terms of growth but that’s easier to stomach than the cost of a lost plant.
I think I’m going to be looking at other special and expensive plants I have and set about getting insurance policies for those.