Friday, April 30, 2010

Forsythia Love or Propagation with a Pea

I have a love affair with the Forsythia. It's showy and demure. It glows like the sunshine in the spring, then takes a back seat to all the summer flowers by lending a green backdrop for which the summer's pride shines.

When we moved to Chicago, I took some cuttings from Tom's grandmother's home. She had several enormous bushes on the side of her property. I wrapped them in paper towels soaked in water and stuck in a red plastic solo cup. It grew, but it didn't thrive. Perhaps I should have chosen a yellow cup?

I attempted to take cuttings from that very same Forsythia back home to Buffalo with me. That time, it just didn't work. Perhaps leaving it under my Mother in Law's porch through the winter in a cup wasn't the ideal situation for my sticks.

So, since then, I've been ogling the signs of spring in neighbors' yards. Scheming in my head how I could 'steal' a cutting under the dark of night. Surely a cutting or two wouldn't be missed, right? I'm technically helping the plant grow by pruning it.

Then I noticed it. That sunshine peeking out between a tool shed and an overgrown yew. In my friendly German neighbors yard, two doors down. I've spoken about Annaliese before. She is an amazing woman. I appreciate her more every moment I spend with her.

Of course, she was happy to oblige my urge for two cuttings. However, she needed me to stay for 5 more minutes. Something about a bag of split peas. Often, it's hard to understand her, this was one of those times. Did she want to make me soup? Why are their peas in her garage? I played along like I understood. I think she knows when I have no idea what she is saying.

This is why she uses peas. After clipping the stem fresh and clean, she took a knife and split the stem, pulling off the low leaves and growth. Then, she put that little pea right in between the stem. A cutting needs air. Gotcha.

But then, she opened up a package of raffia. Huh? Was she going to wrap the stems together to look cute? Confused...I stopped talking to watch.

So maybe I'm slow, it was before 9 am when all this went down. She wrapped the raffia around the stem with the pea in it and tied it with a knot. That makes sense. She gave me an envelope full of peas for my three other stems (I know...maybe I missed a step, was I supposed to make that soup after all?), a couple strands of raffia and a cute little posey of purple flowers tied with twine. I love this women. Gardener, painter, skier, florist, Easter Bunny, all around amazing women.

She said I could just stick them in the ground right now, or set them in water for a week or so to get the roots starting.

It's these little tricks from women that have been around that make my day just that much better.

Thanks, Annaliese, you inspire me to be a better person.

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