What to do?

Returning from two weeks away, I found the garden in superb condition, though several tall weeds that had been hiding before I left now towered above their neighbors. Today, I see the first signs of creeping weeds on bare soil that must be removed before they cover more ground, and this reminds me that now that the mulch of leaves has decayed on the newly created bed in the lower, rear garden I must add mulch or I’ll be forced to spend an inordinate amount of labor cleaning up until plants fill the space.

This planting area was created in the middle of what was a damp and very weedy small area of lawn, and while the soil is raised and much drier now, there are abundant weeds in the narrow area of lawn and stepping stones that invade the bare soil.

A distressing problem was discovered as I walked the garden before sunset the evening I returned. A large oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia, below) in the shaded side garden was wilting badly, not from heat or too much sun, but leaves hanging limply that is a sign of root issues, typically too wet or too dry. But, neither was an issue, so I determined that whatever the cause, the hydrangea was on its way out.

This happens in a garden, though thankfully not with great frequency, so the question was, what to do? The decision to chop it out was simple, and the removal took only a few minutes though the shrub was likely to have been in the ground for twenty years or more. No evidence to substantiate the oakleaf’s demise was found, so now on to the next step.

Again, what to do? There are two other oakleaf hydrangeas that grew into a single mass, so planting another was unnecessary. The space could be left blank, but that doesn’t happen in this garden. The proper course, of course, would be to give it a moment, carefully consider the options and select the most appropriate plant.

The Rising Sun redbud is a bit nutrient deficient, but in the ground it will respond quickly without fertilizer.

But, that’s not the way this garden works, so by the next day a yellow leafed ‘Rising Sun’ redbud was moved into the spot. I think it’s perfect, though I probably should have waited for cooler weather. I don’t think it will be a problem, and of course I’m happier to have a new tree rather than be disturbed by an empty space.

I have been known to overthink problems, but not often in the garden. I don’t know if this is impulsiveness or impatience, and likely it’s some of both, but now the hydrangea is gone with the redbud planted in its place. There’s nothing more to do.

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