September 01, 2006

It felt like moving all of Siberia!

Even the queen of procrastinators eventually gets off her butt and moves. I could no longer stand the dishevelled clutter of the back bed and the gaping hole left by the removal of the overbearing, white fly-infested greater celandine in the side bed. You do get the connection, right? Too much stuff in one bed, big hole in another? I can connect dots too, and the obvious remedy was to move something from one place to the other. I'd been putting it off because August heat is not prime plant-moving season. Gardeners (this makes it sound like it's not just me, so humour me) are in a heat-induced stupor and it's hard on the plants. Which means gardeners don't have to confront their laziness, because the welfare of the plants comes first, right?

A couple of weeks of cooler weather was beginning to make that argument wear thin though, even to my own ears, so I seized the day and the shovel and sallied forth. I have determined not to buy any more perennials until the moving issue is settled, so the empty corner had to be filled with plants on hand. Not a hardship.

A Siberian iris that was supposed to be Caesar's Brother but which was inexplicably taller and lighter than the others (and naturally, at the front of the bed) was a natural candidate to be moved, so I dug the baby up. This wasn't easy. The soil was dry and dense (my lawn had cracks in it, as I realized during this whole procedure) so I had to lever the clump out from both sides with the shovel, through masses of deadnettle and Rozeanne geraniums. The clump just went into giggles of derision when I tried it with the trowel.

Once the clump was pried out of the ground, I split it up, just by cracking it apart with my bare hands.

Siberian iris divisions

Then I trimmed the plants back. This helps prevent dehydration, as the roots are in some shock after this kind of treatment and can't draw moisture up as well.

Trimmed iris

I popped them into planting holes augmented with sheep manure and bonemeal, then watered them in well.

In front of them went a tiny PG hydrangea I had grown in a pot from a piece that had broken off the bigger one I planted in the front this spring. And in front of THAT went a Patriot hosta, well chewed by slugs and totally overwhelmed by its overbearing neighbours in its previous location. I finished the job by sprinkling some bloodmeal around to keep the squirrels away, a necessary measure in this neck of the woods.

Newly planted corner

I want to boast a bit. That big chunk of bare dirt is uncovered primarily because the royal fern nearby lost most of its leaves as collateral damage in my war against white flies. I SUCCESSFULLY RESISTED THE URGE TO PLANT SOMETHING IN THAT BARE DIRT! This is significant, because one of my besetting sins is to overplant. I hate to see an empty space.

It took some compensatory measures, but more on that tomorrow.

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