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The nursery

The nursery lies at the working heart of Sparoza, for it is here that plants are raised for the garden. Plants are occasionally purchased, or received as gifts from members, but most of the new planting at Sparoza uses species that have already been tested in the garden for their ability to do well in its hot, dry conditions and have then been propagated and raised in its own nursery. Seeds and cuttings collected by Sally Razelou or offered by members are also nurtured here for subsequent trial in the garden.

The nursery is situated to the west of the house. It includes a fenced propagation area, secure against stray dogs and wandering tortoises, partially roofed with split bamboo matting for shade. This area also contains the frames constructed by Peter Dinning in which seedlings and cuttings are sheltered until they are ready to be moved out into the open. 'The open' in this case means the outer part of the nursery, shaded by a pine, a Judas tree and a Brachychiton and terraced with low stone walls, where the propagated plants are grown on in neat rows of plastic pots.

Potting compost is prepared in the nursery. Seeds and cuttings are grown in a mixture of sterilised loam-based compost and cheap, multipurpose soilless compost, to which perlite is added at a ratio of one-third. Plants are then potted up and grown on in a 50:50 mixture of rich red terra rossa and cotton waste.

Twice a year, in autumn and in spring, a plant exchange is organised when plants surplus to the needs of the garden are made available to MGS members in return for a small donation.

For photographs of the nursery click here.

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Video - Terry Moyemont.   Music - David Bristow.

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