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The Relocation Program

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Every spring I think I need to split and move a bunch of perennials that have outgrown their beds. Since this is a huge undertaking I go check my resources before I begin, only to discover that they say split & move them in the fall. Well, not all of them, but most. OK, that’s easy enough! But then in the fall when I’m getting ready to do a major relocation project I recheck my resources again and I swear to God they say split and move them in the spring! If this keeps up I’m gonna need napalm!

Well over a decade ago I started a flower garden in front of the wooden fence that runs along one edge of our pasture. At the time I wasn’t overly creative because to be truthful, the soil was marginal and the land sloping. So I threw in a dozen or so common daylilies and called it a day. Much to my surprise, the next year they sprouted and blossomed! And multiplied. Again and again. I was pretty stoked. I mean, eventually I got a huge payback for very little effort.

Fast forward some fifteen years or more. The daylily bed is badly overcrowded and sadly, I’ve grown tired of it’s monochrome design. I’m a better gardener than I was back when I started this flower bed and I have higher expectations. I still love daylilies, but I’m no longer content to play host to the the common, orange lily one sees along the back roads of my state. No, I want different colors, mixed sizes and the occasional exotic! So it’s time to bite the bullet, take shovel in hand and dig up the old daylilies. Normally I get a little depressed when I have to discard any perennial, but I’m letting my mind focus on what I’ll do to replace them. I have lots of plants to pick from since most of my bigger, established perennials are ready to be split. But I have some headaches to get rid of first.

Ferns. They are the bane of this property. I know most people would love to have ferns growing in their gardens, but here they are an intrusive menace. Especially the Sensitive Fern, whose roots are nearly impossible to eradicate. They send underground runners into the surrounding area and they have started to invade my flower beds in several places. I should have done something to stop them when I first saw them, but I had no idea they were as invasive as they are. Now I’m paying for that mistake and it’s created a lot of extra work.

I spent two days removing a ton of old daylilies and those nasty ferns wherever I encountered them. It was dirty, tedious, back-breaking work, but now I’m getting to the fun part: planting! I’ve almost finished replanting one smallish lily bed in the front yard and I’m getting ready to tackle a second flower bed. Some of the new transplants might not do much next spring, but I’ve found daylilies incredibly forgiving and rewarding. I’ve got a bunch of really pretty and different size varieties to plant and I suspect next summer I’m going to feel like a kid in a candy shop when they start coming up. I’m already excited!

4 responses

  1. I have much the same problem with the orange daylillies which are commonplace here too. They quickly fill a useful area, are pretty and easy keepers, but do bully out more sensitive neighbours. Glad I don’t have ferns, though there are plenty in the woods. I’m always looking for people starting gardens who are happy to fill new beds with iris, hererocallis and crocosmia. I was cheered up to hear the advice of the gardening guru Christopher Lloyd who said words to the effect of, “The best time to do a particular task in the garden is whenever you have the time” !

    August 24, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    • I’ll have to remember that Christopher Lloyd quote! I need to find some folks who are just starting out and want free plants! Many years ago I would have been thrilled if someone wanted to give me a little guidance, advice and their plant overflow. Heck I’d still welcome that! I’ve always loved the photos of your property, but I can also appreciate the work that goes into keeping things as beautiful as they are. People often make comments like, “You’re so lucky to live here,” but they really don’t understand the labor of love it is to create that kind of setting. You’re constantly having to work both with and against the forces of nature, and that’s a very tall order.

      August 25, 2014 at 6:44 AM

  2. Do they have Plant Amnesty in your area? Here in my part of WA state, you can bring in plants (i.e.your daylilies) to a semi-annual event where folks bring in their no longer wanted plants to be adopted by someone else. Plant Amnesty also conducts clinics on pruning trees. Mostly, they say, don’t.

    One must be very careful, though, that the plants you adopt are clean. Meaning, they aren’t carrying the seeds from such nasties as Morning Glory, English Ivy, dodder (oh my god, dodder), etc.

    You may also want to put the plants on Craig’s List!!

    Lilies, in general, don’t do well in my area. If the slugs don’t get them, the deer and rabbits will.

    August 25, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    • Wow! I’ve never heard of Plant Amnesty before. I’ll have to do some research. It never crossed my mind to put them on Craig’s List either. I’ll have to look into that one too! Thanks for the suggestions!

      August 25, 2014 at 2:03 PM

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