WELL, a couple of weeks ago it was moving my collection of agaves from their winter home into the sunshine and this week it has been the turn of the many aeoniums in my ever-growing collection.

Through the winter, I store as many as I can, either in the front or back porches of the house. Any I can’t squeeze in there, end up in the heated greenhouse. This week, with the help of my partner, I’m still on crutches, they are now all out enjoying the sunshine we’ve had over the last week or so.

Aeoniums are dramatic evergreen exotics which I feel are best grown in containers. They store water in their thick leaves. You can propagate them very easily, especially if you break some off accidentally while moving larger specimens. You simply take cuttings which should root in a few weeks. It is usually best to take cuttings while the plants are still in active growth, to encourage speedy rooting. Select young, slender shoots as propagation material. These will root more easily and have more vigour than older, thicker shoots. Once you have the cuttings to hand, make sure you leave them uncovered, placing them on their side somewhere dry and warm for a few days until the wound has calloused, this will reduce the chance of the cutting developing rot later on and keep them at a temperature of 18-20°C indoors, in a well-lit place such as on a sunny windowsill.

When ready, insert the cuttings into deep 5cm or 8cm pots of soil-based potting compost mixed with equal parts of grit. Firm the compost at the base of the cutting and make sure that at least half of the stem is above compost level. Make sure you water them sparingly until they have rooted, taking care not to water directly onto the leaves. Aim to keep the compost barely moist at all times. Your collection will soon grow.

Despite having to close its garden gates for the first time in its 93–year history under current government guidelines on coronavirus, the National Garden Scheme launched a new scheme last week that will keep its stunning gardens virtually open through the coming weeks and raise funds to replace lost income from gardens not opening.

Virtual garden visits will be hosted on their website and delivered direct to the nation’s inbox via the charity’s weekly eNewsletter. A longer, featured garden visit will be posted every two weeks while a library of shorter, owner filmed tours will be curated each week. Make sure you check at www.ngs.org.uk

Read more at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk