Serendib Garden Journal: Transplanting

I feel like I’m finally moving from a beginner gardener to an intermediate one, along with my garden, which is five years old this May and started to look not entirely spotty. A lot of what I’m doing these days isn’t adding new plants, but moving and tending the ones I have — pruning back shrubs to better shapes, rearranging plants that are in not-ideal locations.

Today I dug up and divided one of my Walker’s Low nepeta, a low shrubby plant with lots of blue flowers that last forever, which I like a lot, but I planted it too close to the walk and also it’s gotten big enough that I think I can get two healthy plants out of it now. I haven’t done this before (dividing perennials), and I was clumsy with my cuts and ended up sort of dividing it into a third and two-thirds, instead of in half, but I think that’s okay. Have now plopped it back in the ground, and hope it survives in both places. Free plant, whee!

Also moved two hellebores, which I’d planted too close to the first hellebore I put in the ground; I hadn’t realized how big they’d get, and the first one is now a solid two feet across and was totally shading the other two out. Hopefully they’ll be happier and flourish in their new homes.

Planted three groundcover veronica (Tidal Pool), feeling virtuous because I have been such a slacker about planting groundcover up until now. Also nine (!) groundcover lamium: Red Dragon, Pink Pewter, and White Nancy. Their silvery leaves should nicely light up a shady path leading to the backyard. Also planting three May Night salvia in the hellstrip — it’s a rarely watered spot, but salvia is hopefully drought-resistant enough to survive in that location. The periwinkle is doing fine there.

I need to go pick up the kids soon, but when I come back, I’ll be figuring out where to add six Caesar’s Brother irises — I have three already, and love them to death, because they’re tall and blue and elegant and make big clumps over time and their thin spiky green leaves look good for months. Also on the task list for today or tomorrow is moving some of the scilla — I dumped it in the ground somewhat randomly last fall, and now there are big clumps in some places and bare dirt in others, and I think we can do better than that. If I dig them up and move them while they’re in the green, it’s much easier to see where they’ll look good, and even if they suffer a little in the transplant process, they should come back strong (and spreading) next year. Fingers crossed!

A lot of pleasant work, a little hope, and a willingness to redo it if I get it wrong. Luckily, gardens are remarkably forgiving.

2 thoughts on “Serendib Garden Journal: Transplanting”

  1. I think of you as an advanced gardener. At the garden store, do you show more or less gardening skill than most of the other shoppers? Or more or less impostor syndrome?

    1. Mary Anne Mohanraj

      Oh, I don’t think it’s imposter syndrome here. Gardening is just so….deep. It’s like medicine, I think — you can go to med school, and you learn a bunch, and they’ll even let you treat people after three years. But the experienced doctors look at the interns and know that interns know almost nothing. I feel so lost in vast areas of gardening — I never do anything with soil and PH levels, for example, even though I know I should. I’ve just started trying to learn how to grow from seed. But the garden is forgiving — you can learn bit by bit, and still have it look okay. 🙂

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