Time for planting

All but a few small areas of snow have melted, and with milder temperatures (not quite warm by my wife’s definition) forecast for mid week, the time is right for planting. Ideas have percolated through the winter, and now at least some fraction will be put into the ground.

A patch of periwinkle exposed to the winter sun is the first to flower.

Good sense dictates that cleaning up the untidiness left over from autumn should come first, but there is little harm in early planting, and transplants are best done in the chill of late winter. Occasionally, I’ve planted in March, or February, to find in mid April a long established hosta or toad lily growing inches away, but this is easily corrected and little reason to delay.

In recent weeks, a small area of sod was stripped in the rear garden, with several shrubs and a small tree (a twelve foot tall Parrotia) transplanted to begin filling the space. The area was poorly drained, so the planting bed was raised a bit and a depression was dug to encourage drainage. Certainly, this will be an improvement, but whether this will remedy the constant dampness, I’ll know in another month.

Bulbs of Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa) slowly spread down a slope between roots of swamp maples.

Two five foot tall Japanese maples have been planted to replace dwarf spruces that were barely hanging on. Both maples are upright growing types that should top out at eight or ten feet, and while I’ve often seen plants rocket past referenced sizes, there is not room for another foot if these should decide to be exceptionally vigorous. My wife questions if any other tree is an appropriate choice in this already congested garden, but of course it is, and again she shakes her head in disbelief.

The finely cut leaves of Linearilobum maples are similar to the newly planted Hubb’s Red Willow Japanese maple

Two tree peonies are on order, and a handful other plants that I’ve forgotten, but no doubt will be pleasantly surprised by upon arrival. With warmer temperatures imminent, I’m anxious for their delivery, to be planted along with a few daphnes and whatever else catches my eye when I’m in the garden center. I’ve decided to give a few purple leafed loropetalums another try. One planted long ago has survived six or seven degrees below zero, but it’s considerably smaller than when it was planted. Several claim increased cold hardiness, so what the heck.

Purple Diamond loropetalum flowered once. Otherwise, it annually struggles for survival. Other loropetalums claim increased cold hardiness.

Where all will go is not completely decided yet, but details are quickly worked out once plants are in hand. There is some space in the new planting area, and a few of the new purchases don’t required much room, so they can be shoehorned in. Somehow, it will work out. With a mild week ahead, and most of the spring clean up accomplished, I look forward to shorts and flip flops, and planting.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. I am right there with you! This cool spring has extended my “fall” planting season. My husband and I successfully (fingers crossed) moved several of my Japanese maple collection out of pots several weeks ago, and into the ground in a new area, cleared last fall, where we hope to establish a small grove of Japanese maples. So far, so good — all the transplants are in bud or early leaf, and they seem happy. I have boldly ordered some new David Austin English Roses and impatiently await their arrival. If I can’t shoehorn all of them into my mixed border, some will go into large pots. The lilies of the valley I planted are emerging, and my narcissus are putting on a show with the Coral Bells azalea and Lady Banks rose. Fingers crossed that all continue to thrive!

    1. Oh, and I forgot to mention the two new daphnes taking up residence: Summer Ice, and Eternal Fragrance.

      1. Dave says:

        Two of my favorites. Foliage of the variegated Winter daphne took a beating this winter, but it’s flowering. Buds on Eternal Fragrance and Summer Ice are swelling noticeably. A year ago both flowered by this date following a very mild February, but both are likely to be a week or two later this spring. In the next week or two I’ll be planting Jim’s Pride and probably another Summer Ice.

      2. Fingers crossed that mine make it and thrive! I had a variegated one for several years in a sheltered spot where it grew quite large, and then it suddenly gave up the ghost as daphnes seem wont to do.

    2. Dave says:

      I’ve accumulated five or six Japanese maples in pots since there was no room in the ground at the time. Then, two spaces opened up and I purchased slightly larger maples to fill the holes. The inventory is getting longer and my memory shorter. If it wasn’t for writing I’d never remember half of what I’ve planted.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Is Autumn not the primary season for planting because winter is so cold?

    1. Dave says:

      Coming out of dull gray, mostly leafless and flowerless winters, in areas with cold winters the mind set is to plant in spring, no matter which season is most beneficial.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Many people plant in the spring because that is when they think about it.

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