Working for a landscape designer has a great benefit: taking home plants that aren’t doing well where they are sited or digging out rooted pieces of plants that needed to be pruned or removed. I have always been up for trying to re-establish these plants in my own gardens. For example, I brought home a rooted cutting of a climbing hydrangea I was pruning back and it has finally started to climb up a tree.
This past spring was finally the time to create an enlarged bed behind an addition to our house where I had been growing just garlic near the foundation. The area is the sunniest one in my yard and the vegetable garden is set into the alcove of the addition that takes in similar hours of sun. I have several shade and half-shade/half-sun gardens with completely different plants and I had been looking forward to starting an almost full-sun garden for years.
Two springs ago I was told to bring home a small clethra that was looking forlorn in a shade garden since I am the one with the room and desire to try to bring plants back to life. I planted it temporarily in a half-shade/half-sun garden but I knew it would prefer more sun. Then this spring, the forlorn plants kept coming. In May I was told to remove two fothergillas (fabulous 3 season plants related to witch hazels) and take them home. They had hardly any leaves and again, were in the shade. At the same house, a decent-sized piece of yellow-twigged variegated dogwood needed to be taken out as well. I dug holes around the garlic and stuck them all in the ground, knowing that I’d have to get moving with my sun garden.
I started edging a large curved area and played around with where the plants would be placed. Rather than dig out the whole area which was all grass, roots and rocks, I took out all the grass and then dug holes where the plants would go. I left room for some smaller acquisitions to grow into. It has been so much fun and extremely gratifying to watch my new plants thrive in the sun, leaf out and bloom, which the clethra did for the first time in pink, no less! Some of these plants sport amazing fall color. Although I don’t have a photo of my gingko sapling all by itself, I did manage to transplant a baby gingko! (For now it is small and can stay where it is.)
I like to think where all the plants came from and it makes for a very special garden. A sampling of my new greenery:
(And I still grow my garlic in the back of this garden.)