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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The simple joy of digging and planting

Cornus kousa 'Summer Fun'
I love digging in the garden.

With each shovelful of dirt, I feel like I'm entering a secret world of bacteria and fungi and worms and other critters than live amongst the roots and rocks that lie buried beneath the surface.

Did this secret underground world have any idea earlier today that it would be unearthed?

Today when I was digging, I found mostly roots from a nearby Carolina Silverbell tree that sadly didn't make it. The top of the tree died out two springs ago and it never really recovered. It did send up some shoots from the base of the trunk, but I had no expectation that any one of those shoots would someday replace the mother tree.

So I cut it down with my reciprocating saw (I love that saw) and proceeded to dig another hole nearby for the tree I selected to replace it, a dogwood tree with variegated leaves, Cornus kousa 'Summer Fun'. I had been admiring this tree at a local garden center every time I went there this year. Then I read a post on Facebook that all their trees, shrubs, and perennials were on sale, 40% off.

The reason the garden center people have to put the trees and shrubs on sale when now is the perfect time to plant them is because people simply do not want to believe that fall is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. They don't understand that the roots will grow and continue to support and establish the tree or shrub long after the leaves have fallen and before the ground actually freezes.

There are some exceptions to this fall planting rule, but not many.

Other people's, by which I mean most people's lack of understanding means that gardeners like me can swoop in and get good deals on trees and shrubs in the fall because the garden centers really don't want to try to overwinter them in their pots.  So in addition to the good deal on the dogwood tree,  I also paid a nice low price for a Brown Turkey fig. This particular fig is supposed to be as hardy as they come so I'm giving it a chance back in the Vegetable Garden Cathedral.

Digging two holes in one afternoon. Whew, it can wear a gardener out and is probably all I'm good for, given the shape I'm in and given that I also cleaned up and weeded two of the raised beds in the Vegetable Garden Cathedral.  But that's okay, because I just needed the two holes this time.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I'll return to weeding and cleaning up the garden. I'm following my own advice for fall - "Leave the garden in the fall how you want to find it in the spring." Or something like that.  I want to find the garden nice and clean and ready to plant, with no weeds.  Or very few weeds. Or just manageable weeds. Yeah, I'll settle for manageable weeds.


Denise said...

I love my Kousa dogwood. That variegated variety is really pretty. I transplanted a young viburnum that I found growing under the tall grasses. Clean-up is a daily job and will continue all month. Good luck with yours.

Helen Malandrakis said...

I don't have any room to plant this Fall, but it makes me sad to see the end of the growing season.

Patsi said...

Wish I could take your advice and make sure the garden is ready to paint come spring. Somehow that never works out. Well maybe one of these years. :)

Lisa Greenbow said...

I have been working my tail off trying to catch up with garden work aka weeding.
I love your pretty little tree. I hope it likes it's new home.