The Accidental Project

My intention this spring was to complete just one major project, which was to renovate a perennial bed that wraps around the patio and extends across the back of the house. I posted about that project here and here, and a few other times. Many people suggested that I add some kind of garden statue or feature in the inset of the patio. A great idea! I’m still trying to figure out what that should be. But as you can tell from the picture above, I clearly have some time to shop for a garden feature before the ground dries out and I’ll be able to dig out the perennials, amend the soil and replant.

I thought I was getting close on this ground being tillable, but then we had a big storm move through this afternoon and dump all kinds of rain and hail on us. And as the storm moved on to the east, it took with it our spring temperatures in the 70’s and left behind expected highs in the 50’s. We could even have some snow flurries in a few days, and we will have a few frosty mornings.

In the meantime, as you may recall from some other posts, while I was waiting for this area to dry out, I got all rambunctious and cut back that whole row of spireas along my front side walk. I posted about it here, and a few other times, and votes were like 20 – 0 to not let them grow back there, and to re-do that bed. I agree on moving the shrubs and am ready to re-do that area, I just hadn’t quite planned to do it at the same time I was working on the other perennial bed. I’m now referring to this as my accidental project.

Ever feel like you are digging yourself a big hole and it keeps getting deeper? Wait, we're gardeners, of course we dig holes and they get deeper, that’s the whole idea of digging! How about “ever start several projects and wonder if you could finish them all”? My style is more “one project at a time”, but I’m in pretty deep on both of these projects so it is too late to turn back now!

Not that I mind, I like to plant and re-plant.

But I’m going to need some cooperation from Mother Nature, soon. See below, the spirea are starting to sprout. I want to move them soon. I need to move them soon if I am to save them. But the soil needs to dry out, a lot.
Maybe if I set up fans to blow across those beds they would dry out faster, like when a basement gets wet, they set up fans to blow out the humidity and moisture. Or would that be like trying to heat/cool the outdoors by leaving your doors open and the furnace/air conditioner running? My neighbors would really have something to talk about if they saw that going on.

Any other ideas?


  1. We're supposed to get a bunch of rain, along with the temperature drop, here as well starting today. My garden was just starting to dry out, too.

    How about “ever start several projects and wonder if you could finish them all”?

    Ummm. YES! Every single year, and every spring I promise myself (and the husband....) that I won't go nuts this year. They usually end up getting done before winter...well, most of the time they do :-)

  2. Sorry, no ideas here, just wanted to commiserate as I am in the same boat in Southern WI.

    You may have to wait until fall to move those spirea - I hate throwing away plants, so I won't even recommend it!

  3. I have moved spirea plants in the middle of the summer, and have never lost one. I don't think you will have a problem moving them anytime, just make sure you keep them well watered during the hot summer months.

  4. Is THAT what your lawn looks like now?

    WOW. What beautiful turf.

    (Sorry I can't be of any assitance on your actual problem - I too am completely flummoxed by this weather and my garden/landscape challenges.)

  5. I feel so bad for you guys and hope the cold wet stuff doesn't hang around too long.

    Ignore the spiraea, for now, Carol. As far as survival, my guess is that you're better off waiting a few weeks, even if there is some top growth. You don't want to turn dirt into adobe. [You know all this, of course, you're just playing with the fan idea!!]

    After a major clearing out session my dad used to bring me things that looked like clumps of dead sticks. This usually happened at the end of April/beginning of May in IL. I'd plant these shrub divisions, and as long as they were watered they'd take off and grow, and be flowering by the next spring.

    Stay warm and dry - maybe something interesting will happen in your 'conservatory'.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    PS My whole yard looks like an accidental project. We move ahead on one idea and hit something else that needs attention.

  6. What happens if you dig the spireas and temporarily pot them up in those large black plastic nursery containers we've all bought shrubs in? Replant in their new location after the soil dries out.

  7. Colleen... good to hear I'm not the only gardener with multiple projects going on.

    QT... thanks for the commiseration!

    Vonlafin... good to hear you've had success with moving them during the summer, that's about when it will dry out, it seems.

    County Clerk... that's my lawn! The spring weather has been perfect for it this last few weeks.

    Annie... thanks for the sympathy regarding the cold. I'm sure you remember these kinds of springs from your Illinois days.

    Judy... Good idea, but I don't have any nursery pots that large right now. I've been trying to recycle them because I get so many!

  8. Your lawn is amazing green already. Ours remains brown and patchy but is starting to green up. I see you have the problem of grass and weed seeds growing between the bricks on your patio. Our friend built her own patio using reclaimed brick but neglected to put down gardeners cloth to prevent weeds from growing. We tried to help her pull or dig out the weeds and grass between the bricks but it was almost impossible, they were so tenaciously wedged in. Don't know what she ultimately did but she claimed it was the worst boo boo she made garden/building wise. I think she either burned them out with propane torch or dribbled round up.


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