The kindest cut of all

The kindest cut of all View Gallery
Cuttings can help fill your garden with interesting plants, All pictures: Ali Rochford

Ali Rochford: taking hardwood cuttings of your shrubs won’t pay off immediately, but it’s worth the wait

Propagation. The word is a functional one. It expresses none of the joy you can have if, for example, you successfully bring an unpromising twig to new life, or rejuvenate an overgrown clump of Irises that is dead in the centre. It’s a bit like ‘gambling’, a word which is filled with negative connotations but can result in big winnings. It’s now time to take hardwood cuttings of shrubs and climbers, which you could say is a bit like horticultural gambling, except you don’t lose anything and it can pay dividends. An easy and cost-effective way to increase plants, all you need is a bit of spare soil and some patience.

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