Propagation

Save your used tea bags, re-soak them and use them to start seeds off. When the seed has germinated, pop the whole thing into a pot of compost.

With hardwood cuttings, slit the end of the stem and put a grain of wheat into the cut before planting. As the wheat germinates, it encourages the root of the cutting to form.

Those irritating post office rubber bands around your letters or lying on the pavement are the perfect size to hold a plastic bag over a 9cm pot of cuttings.

Take thin branches of Willow, the thickness of a pencil, strip the leaves off and cut the stems into one inch pieces. Soak them in water for a week and strain. It is said that the indolebutyric and salicylic acids which leaches out of the willow act as a natural rooting hormone and encourage seeds to germinate and cuttings to strike.

To help your carnation cuttings take root, place a grain of rice alongside the cutting in the pot.

If your Hawthorn hedge is a bit thin at the base, bend some of the pliable stems down into the soil. Secure them with wire hooks and, in time, they will root and thicken up the hedge.