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Divide and conquer

It’s exponential. Remember that concept from grade school?

“Use exponentially when you want to say that something’s increasing quickly by large amounts. Your friends and colleagues will be pleased to hear that your vocabulary is growing exponentially. The root of exponentially is the French verb exponere, meaning “to put out.””

Hahaha. ‘To put out’. That’s what can happen, when you get a very few plants and they are happy in your particular climate, soil conditions, and sun exposure, and bingo! they sure do ‘put out’. In a few years there are many, many more. I’m not talking about weeds here, that’s a subject for a different blog. No, in this particular case I am talking about the beautiful purple-flowered, spring-blooming drumstick primrose, or Primula denticulata.

Funny, they aren’t even what I ordered. I ordered ‘Poker Primrose’ or Primrose vialii. Though I wasn’t paying much attention to the latin, I just wanted a few things to spice up my very bare landscape 13 years ago. I ordered three plants, and planted them.

BOOM! I’ve watched these happy flowers multiply each year, exponentially. Each one turns into five or more the following year, and each of those when divided, turns into five or so more.

Dividing is the trick. Dig up the clump of five, split off each one, and replant. Looking at the yard in spring now, it’s flooded with purple. I’d estimate 500 to a thousand. Of course, I didn’t divide them all, each and every year, but if I had, hmmmm, let’s do the math:

Year one: 3. Year two, 3×5=15. Year three, 15×5=45…

Ok, I couldn’t figure out the formula, I’m a gardener, not a mathematician. But when I googled the calculation, I got—hold on to your bonnet…. 18,310,546,880.

Whoa. That’s a whole lot of primula! Some for me, for you, and for the neighbours too.

For some tips on successful dividing of perennial plants, try this article from Fine Gardening! I find in our climate, it’s especially important to pick the right day to divide. When the sun is out, the stress on the plant goes through the roof and you are less likely to have all your plants survive. If you must divide during a hot day, take extra precautions to keep your plants and roots cool, and consider making your divided plants a little shade shelter from remay or landscape fabric, or even an old t-shirt on a tomato wire.

By | 2017-05-24T18:44:00+00:00 May 23rd, 2017|BLOG|0 Comments

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