Interesting how the dozens and dozens of clumps of plants dug in only 30 minutes (see this post if you missed it!) took over 8 hours to replant! Also interesting if you know me well, that I didn’t take time to actually count the plants dug, or do any labeling when digging, or make a plan/map before replanting! There were several reasons for rushing, most of them weather related. The forecast was for plummeting temperatures, strong winds, rain storms followed by snow. Ugh! These plants were already unhappy enough without being out of the ground.
So, why did it take so long? Well, all the beautiful soil that’s taken 30 years to develop through constant mulching and amendments ended up in the bottom of the hole. All the horrible, dense, sticky clay ended up on top, and was SO compacted by the machine and tromping that it often took my jumping six or eight times on the shovel just to dig a 4-6″ deep hole. Obviously that wasn’t deep enough for most clumps, so this jumping had to be repeated multiple times per hole. And, it was clumps, big baseball sized clumps that had to be broken up in order to put it around plant roots. I should have taken time to use potting soil, but I didn’t and I’m sure I’ll pay for that in years to come and in plant losses.
Sometimes I’d start to dig in what appeared to be an empty spot, only to find a patch of irises or other perennial under 6″ of clay, so I’d stop and take time to rescue them by removing as much of the clay covering them as I could.
And, since some of the clumps dug out were quite large and needed to be divided anyway, I used this opportunity while they were out of the ground to do so. There are lots and lots of perennials to be potted for the garden club plant sale, when there’s time!
The photo above shows most of what didn’t get replanted. Not pictured are the clumps to be potted for the plant sale. The rain was beginning, and frankly, I was just tuckered out. There are a few clumps of tulips, and I may just put them in some pots as well to use as “decor” around the front door if they actually recover and bloom. You can also see from the pile bottom left, what a lousy job I did digging up those large clumps of daffodils, slicing off lots of stalks from the bulbs.
So it will be interesting to see what survives and how it all actually looks in the future. I attempted to make some groupings, but not knowing what colors were included in the “group” it may not be very effective. There were also just single daffodils that fell off clumps in the process that were just planted two or three per hole…it was just too much work to dig single holes…so they will be a “mixed” bouquet in the ground!
I’m most worried about the roses. Although I tried to take extra care digging and replanting them, two had already begun to leaf out. One had been in the path of the leak, and may have already drowned. I gave them compost in their holes and mounded up some mulch around them, so we’ll see… Also totally missing is the lovely patch of “Gold Moss” feverfew, which I adore. I have no clue where they went, probably in the bottom of the hole. I do have a few plants started in the basement that were for the plant sale, but which I will now keep.
The night after the replant, it dropped to 20 degrees F. There was just barely any rain, which I’d hoped would water the plants in around the roots better, and also barely any snow (not enough to provide any insulation) so the poor babies had a rough night. Then the winds howled and howled. We certainly seem to have more and stronger wind events than I recall in prior decades, and that’s really hard on plants. But, at least they are back in the ground and hopefully on the road to recovery! And hopefully, that job will never have to be done again!!!