"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Confessions of a plant mover.

Sometimes when I look around my gardens I think, "how many places has that poor plant been?"  Then I start looking at just  how many of my plants, shrubs and trees have been moved.  I'm sure most gardeners do this as well.  I have all sorts of reasons why I do, and they all seem right to me.  My husband, though, just doesn't get it.  Occasionally, I have to be a bit sneaky and surprise him with the moves.  He'll say, "wasn't this tree in the front?" or "what happened to that shrub I planted there?"  I always have a great explanation though, at least I think it is.
For example, the dogwood, which has had 3 homes, and now is in it's final growing place.  Originally it was planted beside our driveway where it received protection from the afternoon sun from our neighbor's large cedar.  By the end of the summer that the cedar was cut down, that poor dogwood was a dried up mess.  Now, it happily blooms in the back yard where we can enjoy it and it gets the proper amount of shade.
The blueberry bushes were planted on an impulse originally, and I didn't realize how much shade they were getting.  Once they were moved to the raised beds in our side yard they grew and started to produce delicious berries.
Perennials, have been moved for various reasons.  They got too big, stayed too small, didn't get enough sun or shade.  Maybe, it was too dry and I wasn't following through on my promise to them to give them the extra water I knew they would need.  Sometimes the color combinations didn't look pleasing to me.
Most of my plants new homes have made them, and me much happier.  After almost 10 years of working in these gardens I now really understand and accept how sunny or dry an area is.  I've  
 also learned to put my faith into certain plants.  Like the tree peony that took 5 years to put out it's first bloom, and now gives me more each year.  Or the camellia in the back yard that always looked yellow and had 2 blooms every spring.  After several years of  doting on it, it now has shiny leaves and is full of buds.
My yard is small and if my plants aren't growing or blooming after a few years they, sadly, must go.  I usually find a sister or friend that has a better place, and they pack their roots and go. Occasionally though, a plant has to make his final resting place the compost bin.
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  1. That is great! I chuckled as I read because I can totally relate. I confess: I also rearrange plants outside, and furniture inside. My husband loves it when I do that...err, that might be a wee stretch. But he understands, sort of, a bit, somewhat, sometimes,...

  2. I move plants for the same reasons you do. I also divide plants and put starts in different areas. I have a small yard, too, and have given plants away that I didn't want anymore for whatever reason.

  3. so funny! I love the "final resting place" I am glad you are a "mover", thats how I got so many plants, from you! Keep movin sister :)

  4. Catherine, Your garden is so beautiful! No wonder you liked the Cone Flower on my blog- looks familiar in a way, except yours seems to be flourishing! I wonder if it's because mine are being smothered out by that darn Gooseneck! Sad too, because I started it from seed. I tend to move plants around, somewhat, not too much though, unless you count a dead plant being moved to the compost heap!

    In case you don't get a chance to visit soon, yes, I grow the Nicotiana from seed. That reminds me- I need to find some seed, I think I'm out :(

  5. Great post. It's always somewhat scary moving plants. You hope they survive the upheaval. Some do some don't. It looks like you do very well moving plants around.

    Please go to my blog and collect an award. It is free with no strings attached.



  6. I move plants all the time, but trees? I couldn't imagine moving one of my trees. You have a stronger back than I do :>

  7. This post rings so true with me. My plants have a suitcase with stickers from all over the 'garden' at my place. Finally, when one gets lucky enough to outgrow my abilities to move it (viburnum), then it stays put and says RELIEF! Now I can grow! A good feeling for the plant and the gardener.

  8. Hi - just found your blog. I too am a plant mover I have a very long list of moves planned for as soon as the weather warms up here. I must write them down or I will forget!!

  9. Oh, me too!!! I think it can't be helped, and just for those reasons you mentioned.

  10. Beautiful photos, Catherine. I suppose gardening is like any other art form--lots of sketching, rough drafts, trial shapes, erasures, deletions--you keep trying till you get it just right! It takes a while, doesn't it, to really understand your gardening conditions and what each individual plant likes? Looks like you're on the right track!

  11. Thanks for all the nice comments my fellow plant movers!! To me it's part of the fun of gardening, plus it's free :)
    I also keep a running list of what I want to move so I won't forget. Those ideas often come at night.
    The trees are usually not so big, but the apple tree was about the largest, about 4 years old. It has survived and continues to produce apples.
    Flower Lady - Thank you for you kind award. I really enjoy your thoughts and flowers!

  12. If you're outdoors, you move plants. If you're indoors, you move furniture! ;-) Cute post. Sometimes plants just have to be moved, so they're in the right spot!!

  13. Shady Gardener- yes, I do find that during winter I'm always looking for furniture to move, or at least pictures, candles, lamps...

  14. You and I have exactly the same compost bin.

    I used to field a lot of questions from my partner about all the plants I moved.

    Piet Oudolf hits that nail on the head. I had to go find this quote: "Experienced gardeners often make changes to their gardens, in such a way that every winter sees a few plants being dug up and moved around. Less committed or less confident gardeners might find this surprising, but it is all part of the evolving process of gardening..."
    Designing with Plants, page 43.

    I didn't even wait until winter in the early years!

  15. chuck - I like that quote. Unfortunately I still don't usually wait for the winter!

  16. yes - I love your blog, and so relate to this post. I guess there are lots of movers if not shakers in our blogging circles. cheers, catmint


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