First, I must move the blueberries (vaccinium corymbosum 'Northblue'). They were so small when planted, and the three amsonias behind them were tidy things (Amsonia tabernaemontana).
But as nature intended, the amsonias put on serious size in the third year, and the blueberries bulked up and we had a territory dispute.
They are fine in the spring before the amsonias emerge. They get sunlight, they leaf out and bloom beautifully, but by late spring they are completely overcome. The blueberries get shaded and crowded, and the amsonias collapse over them in wet weather.
The foliage gets fungal spot diseases. Blueberries like moist soil but not wet leaves, and certainly not wet leaves from being smothered. Because they are struggling they defoliate early, and I never see the glorious red color in fall that is their hallmark. I must move them.
|The first fall the spindly blueberries and tidy amsonias got along uneasily, but ok.|
|The following summer the looming amsonias were plotting a takeover.|
- The Correction: dig up the blueberry plants in spring and put all four along the sunny, open edge of the new gravel garden. They'll move well, as they are shallow rooted and still small shrubs.
- Degree of Difficulty: easy
|The mid level in there between the amsonias and the geraniums is where the blueberries are struggling. I'll take them out and this corner will be full and fine with just the geraniums at the foot of the amsonias, don't you think?|
xxxSecond, I must move the yellowroot groundcover (Xanthorhiza simplicissima) that is being overtaken by huge spruce trees along the berm. Who knew that Colorado spruces would become such huge trees? I mean, I knew, but who knew it would happen in my lifetime?
The yellowroot plants have spread from six small plugs in 2007. They send out runners and cover ground enthusiastically. The runners are easy to dig and divide, so I have helped them along by digging and re-planting as they spread. Now they are too close to the hollies and spruces behind. I must move them.
|The yellowroot groundcover shrubs are crowding the lowest branches of the spruces and hollies.|
|I wish these could just walk themselves forward 3 feet. I hate digging out sod.|
- The Correction: dig out more lawn in front of the berm, maybe another three feet out from the edge? Will that be far enough? Four feet? Then dig up every last yellowroot shrub and sucker and reposition them further out in front of the berm.
- Degree of Difficulty: not hard but tedious. This is a very long line of plants, but they do dig up easily and root easily. Removing three feet of lawn along the whole edge will be the hard part. I hate removing sod.
Third, I must move my beloved sourwood tree (Oxydendrum arboreum). It's a really interesting tree, small and narrow and perfect as a focal point near a patio. But it is very, very, very slow growing, or else mine is just not thriving even though it looks ok.
What I need at this spot near the patio is shade. This is the west edge of the patio and the sun bakes the entire area with no relief in summer. Umbrellas and arbors and structures haven't worked there in any way that is satisfactory.
The sourwood is a pretty little thing, almost more of a tall shrub, but it offers no shade at all, and won't for many years. I think I should move it.
|I love this little tree, but it's more decorative than shady.|
|In fall sourwood is a stunner.|
- The Correction: dig up the sourwood and re-plant it near the new gravel garden. Then put in a fast growing, shade-producing, big, leafy river birch next to the patio. I even have one, a four foot tall sapling that needs a home. In two years I will have plenty of shade on a summer day.
- Degree of Difficulty: yikes! Digging up the sourwood has me nervous. It is a finicky tree, the roots don't like disturbance, and even though it is too small to shade anything, it is as tall as I am and has been in the ground for five years. Can I do this? Should I do this? Why would I think about doing this?
This is just the first installment in a longer list of things that need to be moved, corrected, and altered in my garden in 2012. I have all winter to plan, and a full season to anticipate how the heck I am going to get all these things done. I'm exhausted already.
Stay tuned for the second installment of corrections to be made.