The hunt for partridgeberry has begun. As the summer comes to an end we must start planning for the fall. Partridgeberry cuttings are just one of the many jobs we do for the terrarium program. We drive to an area of the sanctuary where we begin the search. Growing low to the ground, partridgeberry can be hard to see to the untrained eye. Walking around the woods, looking down at the ground, can be challenging on its own. Avoiding branches and trees is a major key to success.
Once a patch is found, we can start collecting it. We use pruning shears to cut long strips of the plant, making sure to not cut the whole thing. We also do not completely clear a patch. This assures that it will continue growing for more years to come. Moving patch to patch, avoiding trees, we collect bags full of cuttings. Needing a minimum of two thousand cuttings we can then move on to the rooting process.
We bring the cuttings to the greenhouse where we prepare them to the right size for the children to handle. Once there is a big batch prepared, we dip the cut end into a hormone which helps rooting. We then stick these now hormone covered ends into a flat consisting of sand and perlite. The final step is watering them in and letting the hormone do its job. Once the partridgeberry roots it will be ready for terrariums!