Whenever there’s a break in the winter weather it presents an opportunity to get outdoors and tackle the most urgent jobs on my ‘pending’ list.
Such was the case at the beginning of last week when I grasped the nettle and felt afterwards that a tangible difference had been made in the garden.
This is a reasonable time of year, frost permitting, to move shrubs and herbaceous perennials around in the borders. Ornamental trees and shrubs, fruit trees and bushes can also be added to the list. The only limit on size being the amount of dead weight you can comfortably lift onto a strong plastic sheet and drag from one point to another.
First activity was at a point where the drive entrance joins the lane. Bare soil existed where spent bedding plants had been removed – not a pleasant welcome for visitors. Attractive though the summer plants had been, such a spot demands a more permanent, robust planting which also provides year-round colour. Euonymus sprang to mind, and there was no need to go out and buy any because it’s second nature to propagate almost anything whenever soft stems are available. Several mature silver and golden-leaved cultivars exist in the garden so out came the trusty spade and polythene transporter.
The new planting holes were dug out first, each slightly deeper than the root system of incoming plants demanded, this makes allowance for the generous helping of composted organic matter that precedes planting.
It also helps if you add a sprinkling of Rootgrow at this stage.
It comes in sachet form and contains mycorrhizal fungi, organisms that attach themselves to existing roots, develop an extensive system of their own and greatly increase the host plant’s absorptive capacity.
These micro-organisms were initially promoted to overcome the problem of replanting on established beds suffering from rose sickness, they are now used extensively in horticulture and arboriculture for all forms of planting.
When digging up mature plants for transfer, start some distance away from the estimated root system and there is a better chance of lifting with a good ball of soil attached. Cover this over and make the journey between sites as brief as possible. Once the plant is positioned in the prepared hole, water thoroughly before backfilling with soil and making it secure.