Mother’s Day and flowers, flowers and Mother’s Day — the two are so intertwined that it’s nearly impossible to separate them. For most of my life, the day was a chance to give flats or flowering shrubs. It’s also the day that symbolizes the absolute safe time of year to get things in the ground. So for this day, here are a few photos of the azaleas, lilacs, and columbine blooming now and a few words for Mothers everywhere — including my own.
I remember the day I first learned about the birds and the bees, which — surprise — really had nothing to do with birds and bees.
I was watching an afternoon rerun of “Marcus Welby, M.D.” with my mother, and the episode focused on a patient with an STD, only it was called VD at the time. My father walked in at that moment and asked if I knew what that meant.
“Um, yeah?” I said, unsure if the question mark at the end of my response gave me an air of authority or uncertainty.
And then came my father’s response, “Let’s go for a drive.” Uncertainty it was.
It’s Mother’s Day, and in my part of the world, it’s the day when every homeowner is given the nod to go ahead and start planting. In honor of the day, I thought I would make some Hydrangea babies that would make any mother — including the mother plant — proud.
1. In addition to a mother plant, you’ll need the following items (left to right): a dish with rooting powder, clippers, water, sandy soil, and a stick of some sort.
2. You’ll next have to select what parts of the mother plant you’d like to root. Tender green stems, preferably ones that are not ending in a bloom, work best.
3. Once cut, immediately place the stem in water. You can continue collecting stems for rooting — but always place them in water right away.
4. At this point, get the root starting cells ready. Sandy soil tends to work best because it’s not heavy, which is easier for developing roots. Use a stick (a chopstick or a pencil works great) to make a hole where the stem will be inserted.
5. Remove a stem from the water and trim off the larger leaves.
6. You will be left with something that looks like this.
7. Dredge the cutting, which is still damp with water, in the rooting hormone.
8. The rooting hormone should stick nicely because of the water. Make sure that the stem is as covered as possible.
9. Place the stem into the prepared soil, being very careful not to brush off the rooting hormone as you insert the stem into the hole. Once placed, gently tamp down the soil.
10. When all of your stems are planted, water them in and leave them in a sheltered location. I usually keep them along the back of the house, sheltered by the eave. Hydrangeas are fine with shade, but it’s important to protect these babies as best as you can — you know, like a good mother.
In a few weeks, you should be able to see which of your transplants has survived. When roots have developed, the baby Hydrangeas can be potted up. They may even be ready for planting, in a somewhat sheltered area, by fall so they can overwinter. In the spring, you’ll be able to transplant them to a permanent location or re-pot them to giveaway as, well, Mother’s Day gifts.
And on that note, I’d like to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!