Categories: Close-ups

Unexpected Present

By Published On: April 4, 2011
Unexpected Present

This stem cutting of Lepechinia calycina, also known as Pitcher Sage, is one of my first.  Or I should say, one of my first that appears to be thriving.  It’s funny because I remember as a kid the ladies in the neighborhood passing cuttings over fences, seeing cuttings in random pots or jars of water near the kitchen sink but, until recently, I haven’t ventured into propagation much past seeding or division.

I feel like I’ve reached into the pocket of a coat, tucked away since last season, to find a $20.00 bill I didn’t know I had.  I’ve just received an unexpected present and a whole new world of possibilities suddenly lay wide open in front of me.

I happened upon this particular cutting of Pitcher Sage while trail running on Mt. Tamalpais, near San Francisco, CA.  Its fragrance stopping me in my tracks.  With a quick turn I doubled back.  It was waiting in an unassuming, but aren’t I really great sort of way.

I took just a bit, making sure to get part of a woody branch.  It’s square stems breaking easily but brittle.

Once home, I clipped it up, freshening the ends to 45 degrees (though leaving a “heel” can sometimes improve rooting), removing excess leaves and cutting the larger remaining leaves in half.  I ended up with enough material for two starts.  They settled nicely into a mixture of vermiculite and perlite and a regular hydration routine, a good dousing with a not-so-special spray bottle.  The Lepechinia keeps company with Fuchsia thymifolia and Salvia brandegei.

Dark Star for a Grey Day
Sissinghurst Castle Garden


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About the Author: Emily Murphy

I’ve learned there’s something wonderfully powerful in the simple act of growing. Here, in our gardens, we can repair ourselves and our plots of earth with our own two hands. GROW WHAT YOU LOVE and GROW NOW!

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