A shrub moving Six on Saturday (27 October 2018)

Hello. My name’s Graeme and I’m a compulsive shrub mover. It had been 9 weeks and 1 day since I’d last moved a shrub. I was doing well. But last Sunday I had a bit of a relapse.

I think long and hard about shrub placement. I consider how big a shrub will grow, how much space I should allow for said growth, whether it requires full sun, partial shade or full shade. I ponder whether its overall shape will be pleasing on the eye and whether it will fit in with the overall feng shuieyness of the garden. And after all this pondering I’ll plant the shrub, water it, take a few steps back, admire it… and then decide I really should have planted it slightly more to the right and dig it up again.

Sometimes I’ll leave a shrub in the same position for a year or two until I change the shape of a bed and all of a sudden the shrub will look out-of-place. Sometimes I’ll see a plant in a garden centre that I really must have but there’s only room for it if an existing shrub is repositioned elsewhere in the garden. And sometimes there are circumstances that necessitate the moving of a shrub that no one really could have predicted at the time it was planted. Here are 5ish shrubs and a tree that I moved or planted last weekend.

1. When my Compulsive Shrub Moving Disorder kicks in I usually laugh in the face of shrub moving lore. Autumn may be the best time to move a shrub but I can’t wait that long. If it’s in the wrong location it must be repositioned post-haste. Three years ago, during the height of summer, I was struggling to squeeze past the Lonicera fragrantissima (or winter honeysuckle) to get to the bags of compost I keep down the side of the blue shed. It was an annoyance. It had to move. Immediately.

So it was replanted close to the trellis-topped fence where I thought it would provide some privacy. It was watered a few times each day everyday for several weeks and has been growing there happily ever since. Unfortunately, the jasmine that grows along the fence and trellis has also been growing away happily during that time and now becomes almost hedge like by mid summer, swamping the winter honeysuckle and a number of other shrubs in that bed, despite being chopped back each year.

This year I waited until the autumn (more out of necessity than common sense – the clay soil was undiggable during the hot dry summer) and I moved it further way from the fence and nearer the back door where I’m hoping its scent can be better appreciated.

2. Unfortunately, this meant I had to dig up the Daphne odora, a plant that the gardening books tell you resents having its roots disturbed. And it really does. I’ve dug it up before and it took rather a long time to recover, losing a lot of its leaves (it still looks rather leggy). But needs must and the daphne has been moved to the other side of the garden next to the Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’ which has also been shifted to the left to the exact same spot that, three years ago, was occupied by the winter honeysuckle and, until last weekend, was occupied by the…

3. …Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile‘. By June the orange blossom had grown too tall, leggy and aphiddy, and that’s right – made getting to the bags of compost stored down the side of the blue shed rather tricky. So the orange blossom has now been planted in the spot where the winter honeysuckle was situated until last weekend, though further away from the fence and the jasmine (I hope you’re keeping up). It’s not been looking too happy the past few evenings but it perks up overnight after it’s been watered.

4. To the right of the Philadephus is a Viburnum farreri. My wife grew this from a cutting she took from the garden of the first home we rented together. It started life in the back bed behind the garden bench and later moved to the bed with the jasmine. Last weekend it too was shifted further away from the fence.

5. There’s only one shrub in the garden that hasn’t been dug up after it was planted and that’s the Daphne x transatlantica ‘Pink Fragrance’. I finally committed to planting it last weekend after ‘trying it out’ for a month in its pot in the newly extended bed, near the back door. Measurements were taken, anticipating future growth based on its white cousin near the patio. It should be fine. It’s in the perfect spot. There should be absolutely no reason to move it. No reason at all.

6. And finally… Occasionally, a Compulsive Shrub Moving Disorder can lead to something more serious: a Compulsive Tree Moving Disorder. Sometimes you can get away with compulsive tree moving (the Prunus cerasifera ‘Hessei’ was transplanted successfully over six years ago). Other times it can have tragic consequences; the Prunus mume ‘Omoi-no-mama’ didn’t make it. However, the replacement tree has arrived. It’s a Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’. It looks quite big in this photograph.

But now the tree has been planted it looks tiny (I don’t think the giant stake helps). Yet I’ll be patient and resist the urge to dig the poor thing up and move it. Once again careful thought has been given regarding its alleged predicted size 20 years from now. Hopefully it’ll start to put on a bit of new growth come the spring and in years to come will look perfect in the spot I’ve chosen.

Anyway, I’m not going to worry about it. Instead I’m going to gaze at some pretty flowers in the garden and relax.

And they were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.


21 thoughts on “A shrub moving Six on Saturday (27 October 2018)

  1. Whew! I’m exhausted reading about it all, but your garden does look very attractive. I can be a bit compulsive myself, but nowhere near the same level as you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m hoping I won’t need to move any more (though there’s a buddleia Buzz that I also moved last weekend that still isn’t in the right spot!)


  2. Good morning Graeme, we all are compulsive shrub mover…Reading your Six reminded me of an anonymous discussion association for detoxification … I also grow a ‘Kojo-no-mai’. The seller, 7 years ago I think, told me at the time that mine would not grow up to 1.50 m. It’s 2m now and I’m thinking about … moving it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good to know I’m not alone! Stated shrub and tree heights seem rather inaccurate sometimes. On the plus side the ‘Kojo-no-mai’ is supposed to lend itself to pruning so I’m hoping I can keep it in check should it get too big. The tree that was already in the garden when we moved here is only supposed to get to 2m by 2m in 20 years. It was about 6ft when we moved in 6 years ago and has now exceeded 2m!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I think I’ve been lucky. Watching Beechgrove Garden the other week it seems you’re supposed to prepare a large shrub well in advance of moving it. A buddleia Buzz that I also moved last weekend isn’t looking very well at all and I wouldn’t blame the Daphne odora if it gave up!


  3. I am pleased your perrenial geranium calms you down – you would be totally laid back if you had all my geraniums, they are going berserk at the moment! When I was moving/removing several shrubs many, many years ago when we first moved here, my amazing garden trowel was invaluable for scraping away the awful clayey soil from the roots. I now move as few plants as possible……. nothing to do with getting older!!!!?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps you’re just wiser?! Every year I plan on trying to improve the clay soil but it’s the one thing I never get round to and I always regret it come the summer when I can’t get the trowel in the ground.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. O Graeme, I think you should get a scad of huge pots, a forklift & give up all this digging shrubs out! It’s annoying, tho, looking at something & knowing it should be 3″ to the right.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t move many things, not because there’s no need but because of the cascade effect of needing to move B in order to move A, then C to make room for B and so on ad infinitum. I end up leaving things where they are and trying to keep them small enough to stay there.

    Liked by 1 person

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