There are probably few better opportunities on PLANET EARTH to learn about plant propagation than by attending the annual hands-on workshop at Arrowhead Alpines Nursery near Fowlerville in February. The workshop covers growing from seed, cuttings and grafting, and is hosted by the most experienced professionals in Michigan -- and that ain't no exaggeration.
If you are unfamiliar with Arrowhead Alpines, you should know that it is run by Bob and Brigitta Stewart, two people who are actually plant/human hybrids. OK, that is an exaggeration, but it's hard for me to suss out any other explanation as to how such a small group of individuals can successfully grow so many thousands of plant taxa. And it is said that Bob can identify most of them just by their emerging cotyledons.
If you plan to attend, you should consider becoming a member of the Great Lakes Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society, the group that is sponsoring the workshop. Membership cost is $30, and being a member provides opportunities to tour gardens, attend presentations and mix with some truly outstanding plant experts. Workshop date is February 19. Check Arrowhead's website ( www.arrowhead-alpines.com) and that of GLC-NARGS (glcnargs.com) for more information.
While on the subject, let me put in a plug for mail-order nurseries as a source for plant material. The selections available are limitless, and the quality rarely disappoints. Some of my favorite mail-order sources folded up in recent years (Seneca Hill Perennials and Asiatica are closed; Heronswood is barely a shadow of what is once was); but Arrowhead is still afloat, as is Plant Delights (www.plantdelights.com) (the later with 26 selections of jacks-in-the-pulpit).