Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Lower South
October, 2011
Regional Report

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This 'Marie Daly' rose is a disease-resistant, dependable bloomer that will join the family on our trip to a new city.

A Garden Left Behind

I am about to move to a new city and leave my landscape and gardens behind. To say I have mixed emotions is definitely an understatement. As a gardener I am an eternal optimist, and while I don't even know yet where I will be living, I can tell you for certain that my best garden yet is to come!

Leaving behind the old place is no easy task. There is a story in every plant. Some will have to go with me, others will come along as rooted cuttings or stored seeds to be replanted in the new location.

There is a yellow blooming Lycoris aurea that has only bloomed once in six years that will like our new area much better. Since it is entering its post-bloom regenerative period, I will dig and pot the bulbs with their foliage to prepare them for the trip. Other heirloom bulbs such as some rain lilies and Oxblood (Schoolhouse) lilies will be dug and stored in mesh bags for the trip.

Then there are a couple of very special roses that will be dug, cut back by half or more, and replanted in large containers so they can start developing roots for February planting in their new location. Once dug and replanted in a large container I'll set them in a bright but semi-shaded location and keep the roots adequately moist to ensure quick recovery and minimal stress from the digging and planting ordeal. A few other roses are being trimmed for cuttings to start new plants. I want to keep some of their varieties but the actual plants have no particular sentimental history or value to me.

A number of perennials will also need to be dug and divided to travel with me to our new place. Other plants such as a special rosemary variety, some other herbs, a soapwort, and a few other perennials will be rooted in preparation for an upcoming move. There are some ornamental grasses to be divided and a number of seeds from various plants to be gathered.

All in all it will be quite a parade of plants but to move to the new place empty-handed is unthinkable!

If all goes as planned we will be moving this fall, which is quite fortuitous since fall is the best season for planting. Our perennials planted in the fall well be well established and ready to take off growing in the spring. This includes the bulbs. The plants I will dig and repot will also have developed roots and be ready to go in their new home.

Some houseplants that have gotten rather lanky or too tall for a standard home ceiling are being air-layered to start new plants and reduce the size of the existing ones. There will likely not be enough time to get well rooted air layers before the move, but after we settle into the new location the layers can be removed and replanted.

It feels good to leave someone a landscape and garden with so many great plants and well prepared soil. It is also exciting to think of starting over since gardening itself is an annual exercise in repainting an old canvas.

Even if you are not contemplating a move this fall or winter, perhaps some of these techniques and ideas will be useful now to prepare some plants for gardening gifts in the upcoming holiday season.

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