|I was so excited the first day I saw fence posts in the ground, thinking, "Finally! It won't be long now!" How naive.|
My dad and I decided the 'Crimson Pygmy' barberries could live at the head of the driveway, where the fence leaves a corner of land on either side to make the turn into the driveway easier. There's plenty of room for them there, they're colorful, and they can live outside of the fence. Out there, they can continue teasing the deer with their soft new growth suddenly changing into hard, tongue-piercing spines. But there's no point digging up those barberries until the fence is finished, or at least in the area where they'll be going. And I can't get a good idea of how I want to rearrange things within that bed until the barberries are gone. So I'm stuck with the driveway island project until the fence is done. In fact, there isn't much point in planting too much of anything until the fence is completed and I no longer have to worry (hopefully) about making more cages or remembering to reapply deer repellent as things grow. In fact, I've been asked to "slow down" on plant purchases until the fence is finished. You go on one plant binge at Tsugawa's and suddenly you need to "slow down." Not that I won't snap up something hard to find if I stumble across it or if I find a plant that I have in mind for a spot that's already open and that plant is deer-resistant anyway.
The bed along the front of the house is also at a bit of a standstill,. I moved everything but a large orange Calluna vulgaris, Dracunculus vulgaris, a few common sedums, and a garden-variety evergreen azalea out of that bed. The heather may stay in the bed, but not where it is now. The sedums are right along the edge where I can leave them and build up the rest of the soil in the bed like I did for the other half (which I posted about here, along with my Tsugawa binge). The azalea and dracunculus are the problems. The azalea is huge, and neither I nor my father are particularly eager to move it. I could take it out more easily if I was just going to discard it. Chop it up as much as I please, no need to worry about getting a big enough root ball. But I'm loathe to part with a mature specimen plant, even if it is a nameless, shapeless evergreen azalea. I want to fill space, not make more of it. I'm not really sure where it should go, either, but it will make a good seasonal mass of color somewhere. The dracunculus, which has earned the nickname "Stinky" (clever, I know) is just about to bloom and earn its name for another year. I'm not particularly worried about killing it by moving it now. I just can't bring myself to move it before it blooms. It's really outdone itself this year. The base of the mottled stem is at least three inches in diameter and the spathe is 26.5 inches long from bulbous base to attenuated apex (don't tell me you've never measured yours). How can I dig that up, possibly shocking it enough to die back early, before it has a chance to open? I can't finish adding soil to that bed and plant it up until those two plants move.
|Azalea on the left, Stinky in the middle, and the heather on the right, barring me from finishing adding soil and putting in new plants.|
|I've been watching it grow all spring. How can I dig it up now when it's about to bloom?|
To top it all off, this last week was perfect gardening weather: cool, overcast, even a little drizzle and nocturnal rain. Prime planting weather. And there I was twiddling my green thumbs, repotting a few houseplants; trimming and weeding a bit here and there while I wandered around in a lost, forlorn daze wishing I could be taking advantage of the weather. I'm pretty sure my plants are sick of my constant close inspections. Have you grown since I looked last? Do you need water? Can I offer you a bite of fertilizer? Do you need a trim?
I finally snapped and got a little planting in, with plants I had already purchased and were waiting around in their pots anyway. A couple weeks ago at Tsugawa's, I found a Heptacodium miconioides in the discount section and couldn't leave it behind. I already had a spot cleared where an experimental Magnolia nitida had died over the winter.
|Heptacodium looking good in its new home. It will need some pruning next year to improve the branch structure.|
At Lael's Moon Garden, I picked up Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata'. I had trouble deciding on a location for it. I settled on moving my Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon' and planting the elaeagnus in it's place. On top of growing too slowly for the location anyway, I discovered that ants were chewing on the new leaves and shoots of the poncirus. I suppose it must have very tasty sap. I moved the poncirus to the bed off of the back patio, away from the ants (well, those specific ants, anyway) where its twisted branches can be appreciated more closely. The elaeagnus is much better suited for the Flying Dragon's former home, being more tolerant of drought, faster growing, and evergreen. The site really called for something evergreen to block the view of the neighbors.
|In full sunlight, this Elaeagnus is almost too bright, but it glows on cloudy days and late into the evening.|
|Flying Dragon is much better off here, where it can be appreciated. Someday it will bear fuzzy little oranges that will show up nicely against the blue Atlas cedar in the background.|