It is finally that glorious time of year when work in the greenhouses begins. Our first cuttings have arrived and we have started potting them up, giving each plant new room to grow in wonderful Vermont Compost Company potting mix. (See note below) We can imagine that they feel the same way we do upon first entering the greenhouse, as they shed their cardboard boxes and we our many winter layers. At first the sunshine pouring down dazzles us, and we squint in the brightness. But soon we are all reveling in the lovely feeling of the rich soil, the moist, 85 degree air on our skin, and the intoxicating scent of rosemary. Within a few days this greenhouse will be filled to bursting with vigorously growing young plants.
Note: "Cuttings" are plants that can only be started from rooted stems. Instead of the plant producing seed and being propagated from a seed, plants that are 'vegetatively propagated' (as it is called) are only true to type from the stem cuttings. In some cases, this means that they are cloned hybrids - a cross between two plants and they would revert back to looking like one of their parents if you planted the seed. Another reason plants are propagated this way is because they are too slow to germinate and in our climate, they would be hard to establish. We buy in our rooted cuttings because making them ourselves would require heating a greenhouse all winter long and for now it is more efficient to buy in these beautiful cuttings from growers in Quebec and Massachusetts who specialize in this kind of greenhouse production. And just to be clear, this is old-fashioned plant breeding and propagating - these are not test tube babies or genetically modified organisms.