Why not plug gaps with great plants you already have

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If you’re anything like me as a gardener, you have probably hugely over-planted your garden.

At one time, you might have thought – as I did – that you needed every lovely plant in the book. As a result, you bought too many, planted too many, planted too closely and overfilled the space available.

Now this does sound like a problem. And it is. Sort of. But as years go by and you start to lose some plants through damage, disease and decay, there is a benefit to having planted so many earlier on – you discover you actually have some mature plants in the wings, all set to move into empty spaces that suddenly open up when something dies or collapses.

That’s what I’ve found to be the case in my garden. Over the past year, I’ve been filling spaces with plants that are easy to lift and move.

This Yakushimanum rhododendron was easy to move because the rootball was small and compact.

Today, I moved this Yakushimanum rhododendron to fill a hole created when an old Pieris japonica succumbed and got crippled by heavy snow last year and was unceremonious slammed to the ground and crushed.

Rhododendron williamsianum, one of my favourite rhodos.

Fortunately, this little rhodo was just big enough to fill the space but not so big that it was difficult to lift and move.

Actually, it came up very easily and I was able to drag it, using a tarp, to its new location. Small- and medium-sized rhododendrons are generally easy to move because they have small, compact, easy-to-dig rootballs.

I’ve also recently moved a small plum tree that sprang up in the perennial border. I needed something to fill a space in a corner and this little tree did the job very nicely.

Rhododendron augustinii, lovely rhodo for any garden

I’ve a few other rhododendrons and azaleas around the garden that can also be easily dug up and moved to plug gaps.

Surprisingly, I notice that when they are lifted, these plants rarely leave much of a hole themselves, which just goes to prove my theory that I did indeed over-plant in the first place. Some gardeners call this process “editing” and see it as a natural consequence of basic enthusiastic gardening.

For sure, it is not such a new idea to go around your garden in January and make some decisions about what can stay and what should go.

But this is certainly also a great time to look around at what can be easily moved and used to plug ugly gaps or create new privacy screens or which plants can be switched around just to give the garden a more attractive overall look.

I’m pretty sure they are not doing this in Ontario or Winnipeg right now.

swhysall@hotmail.com

 

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