A recent column on the value of willow water in rooting cuttings has prompted several comments from our readers, but none more interesting than those by Ett Glossenger of Carefree, Ariz., and formerly from New South Wales, Australia.
While living in the foothills of Australia's Blue Mountains, she discovered how readily her cuttings rooted when placed among water hyacinths.
One day Mrs. Glossenger took some stems of Orange Triumph roses, after they had finished flowering indoors, and stuck them in among the water hyacinths that were growing in a concrete trough to see what would happen.
When she pulled out a stem a week or so later she was delighted to find a mass of rose roots tangled in with the hyacinths.
Lobelia, cottoneaster, camelias, gardenia, purple and lemon-scented magnolias , mulberries, quince, cherries, peaches, apples, verbena, forsythia, and a variety of vines were just some of the plants that rooted readily in the water-hyacinth trough.
''Not a single stalk failed to root,'' she adds.
Whether water hyacinths give off similar root-promoting properties to those of the willow, Mrs. Glossenger does not know. At the time, she says she knew nothing about rooting hormones, but it seemed to her family ''that as soon as the cuttings (placed in the trough) felt the mass of hyacinth roots around them, they couldn't resist the urge to grow some themselves.''