Garden Log 5/11/21

Sometimes the garden evolves, and what seemed like a perfectly good idea just doesn’t work anymore. In this case, I planted this “Quickfire” lacecap hydrangea about a decade ago, and for many years, it was one of my favorite shrubs in the garden, with early white blooms that went a gorgeous pinky-red as summer turned to autumn.

But the crabapple that was here when we bought the place died not too long after, and so we put a redbud in, and that died almost immediately (bad winter, lots of people lost young trees), and so we put in ANOTHER redbud, “Ace of Hearts,” (spending a little more money to get and plant a bigger tree, hoping that would help it survive), and this one took nicely.

So nicely, in fact, that after about five years, it had grown enough to completely shade out the Quickfire. Now, hydrangeas are shade-tolerant, yes, but this one, at least, clearly blooms much less in shade. I noticed last year that it hardly bloomed, and the branches themselves were reaching towards the sun, so that it was getting a very lopsided shape. I could’ve just pruned for shape, but that wouldn’t fix the blooming problem.

So this spring, I had someone come and move it for me. (Everol, aka “Rasta with a Rake,” did a great job.) I do most of my own gardening, but moving a big shrub is a little beyond my current strength, alas.

Moving mature shrubs is always risky — even if you take a lot of care to get as much of the root ball as you can, they might not survive the transplant. But it’s been a week, and so far, it looks okay. Fingers crossed it makes it through. I’m making sure it doesn’t dry out, so the roots can get well established.

If you’re going to be moving shrubs in the Midwest, now is a good time, when the ground has just warmed up, or in mid-fall, so they can go dormant and rest over the winter. The second photo shows its new location — up against the fence, with lots more sun, and turned around so that it will hopefully grow a little more evenly. Fingers crossed!

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