29 Jan 2011

Propagating Grape Vines

Look carefully at this roped off area in the Orangery and you'll spot the new grape vine cuttings that Tim Marshall, Head Gardener at Holkham Hall has been preparing. 
Over the winter months is a good time to propagate these hardwood cuttings using good healthy stems that are pencil thick. The cuttings here are from Muscat grapes that need a bit more heat than most varieties.The parent plant was planted by the present Lord and Lady Leicester, probably about twenty years ago. Muscat grapes tend to be grown for the table as they are lovely and sweet though the wasps are greatly attracted to them too. Tim will have a few for sale later in the year but they are mainly for planting in the greenhouses.
The Garden hive website is full of information and how-to photographs of taking grape vine cuttings. It says encouragingly:
"Plants started off in January or February under heat should by June have grown a stem 5 to 6 ft long ... and they will be ready for planting out in the greenhouse border or hardened off on the patio or in a sheltered place before going to their permanent position in the garden." 
The Holkham Walled Garden will be open for visitors in April so it will be interesting to see if these 'sticks' will be 4ft high and leafy by then. 

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