Wrong timing, but it will probably work out

I can’t believe that I transplanted a division of ‘Sun King’ aralia (Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’, below) to the shady side garden in late June. A decent sized ball of roots was dug, but I would never recommend to anyone to transplant anything in early summer. Plants purchased from the garden center with a ball of soil, or in a container, have a decent chance with proper care, but digging things out of the garden to move is risky, at best. With heat and periods of drought inevitable, the chances for survival are slim, and slimmer for a tall, fleshy stemmed perennial like this aralia.

But, I had a hankering for a large yellow something in this very shady spot, and after seeing that ‘Sun King’ in the garden center was a bit more costly than expected, digging part of the large clump from the front garden seemed a reasonable alternative. Of course, an inch of rain was forecast for the weekend, and at least double that amount actually fell, so some thought went into this wrong season transplant.

So far (after two days), so good, and though I typically plant and forget, I’ll watch out for this one over the next few weeks. The spot is quite shady, with decent ground that is reasonably moist and covered by a layer of shredded leaves, so that’s as good as I can do. At least, if it fails, I’ve lost nothing. The difference in the clump out front is barely noticeable.

One of the storms that passed through over the weekend was a gusher that washed out areas that haven’t in the twenty-nine years we’ve been here. I spent a few hours yesterday picking up leaves, sticks, and debris (I don’t know if several antique beer cans were tossed into the border planting by my kids, or by the neighbors’ that came fifteen years later.) that washed out onto the lawn, and hope never to have to do this again. Not all the debris could be cleaned up without raking, and I’d done as much as I cared to do at the that point, so it will take the mower a time or two to get rid of the rest of it.

As often happens, the debris path in a deluge shows the natural flow of water, and the small area where one of the new Afghan figs (Ficus afghanistanica ‘Silver Lyre’, above) was planted barely avoided being washed away. A bit of loose soil was relocated onto the stone patio beside the koi pond, but it could have been worse, and this was tidied up quickly. As expected, the figs and a few other smaller things planted last week have had no problem, and of course I expected no issues since these were planted in another of a string of rainy weeks.

Several of the Oriental lilies have come into bloom and faded. It seems that the coming and going was quicker than usual, and several are barely seen now as plantings around the koi pond have grown up. I planted several new lilies earlier in the spring, and while one with distinctive markings (above) didn’t seem to last until the flowers were fully open. another is flowering now (below), ten days after others. Since the lilies are here for such a short period, they’re planted with lots of neighbors, and occasionally they’re lost in the jumble if the variety is one with shorter stems.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Linus says:

    My Aralia sun king, 3rd year in the ground in about 4-5 hours or sun, seems to be sulking with the all the rain (and less sun). Hopefully it’ll pick up with the sunnier days? Curious how your’s do in the shade.

    1. Dave says:

      With only filtered sun, ‘Sun King’ performs well in my garden. With two plants side by side, one that is in deeper shade grows a foot shorter, and the leaves are not as brightly colored. I suspect the problem you’re seeing is a common one after this very rainy spring. With the past six weeks being very wet, foliage is more lush than unusual. Every year there is a transition for plants from spring to the warmer temperatures of summer, but with leaves more tender this year, the transition is more pronounced. Leaves of many plants fade, or leaves drop as we go from mild and damp to hot and dry. The leaves of ‘Sun King’ will acclimate, but with more sun there is a chance that you’ll see some sun scorch.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    We just moved a star magnolia only because of the schedule of renovation construction. I would have liked to delay the relocation until autumn, but it was in the way in one site, and the new site is being landscaped. It is doing well. I would think that an aralia would be much more difficult because its natural response to such distress it to die back.

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