Unsurprisingly, I’m at it again. Planting, though if you take the word of my wife the garden’s been full for years, and another plant could not possibly be wedged in. Which is, of course, nonsense. Certainly, she understands the futility of putting a halt to new planting, and now she just groans when she spots a truckload of whatevers in the driveway.
The latest project is a small one, actually two, with planting in a small area in front where a few laurels did not fare well with a bit too much moisture, and possibly more shade than they would prefer. The other spot is an open space between the driveway and the neighbor’s house that was replanted after a large hornbeam was removed a few years ago. The space was filled with a variety of shrubs and perennials, but something was missing. An upright something was needed, not so much as a focal point as that there needed to be a bigger, taller something.
The fall back in this garden is to plant a Japanese maple whenever there’s an open space, since there’s no way you can go too far wrong, and there are hundreds and thousands of maples that would be ideal to add to the thirty or more already in the garden. But, the right tree didn’t come around before I was tempted by a weeping version of the native American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana ‘Magic Fountain’, above). It’s not much to look at right now, but I think the tall, relatively narrow habit of the tree will work nicely for the spot.
The tree I selected was way overgrown for its container, a perfect example of a rootbound tree that garden writers warn to be on the lookout for, and not to plant. Large roots that had escaped through the bottom drain holes in the container had been chopped off, and so many circling roots jammed the plastic pot that it had to be cut off. Perfect, a fifty dollar tree in a twenty dollar pot, which was not a concern at all for me once I pried loose the tangled mass of roots. This was a bargain, and I’m overjoyed to put in a bit more effort to plant a tree that’s twice the size it should be for the money. Probably, I should warn that your results might not work out so well, but this is not the first, and hopefully won’t be the last time I’ll find a bargain that most gardeners wouldn’t or shouldn’t consider.
The only question with the persimmon is that I don’t expect there to be a nearby male pollinator, and there’s no space in the garden to plant one. I don’t believe I’ve ever eaten a persimmon, and without a pollinator it’s likely I’ll have to make due without fruit.
To make space for the tree a few shrubs had to be moved, but this was the simplest part of the planting. Moving the overgrown tree was the first and most awkward test of my surgically repaired back, and happily I report that I am back to lifting things that would make my surgeon (or my wife) cringe. Yes, there’s a time to ask for assistance, or to let someone else do the work, but I made it through without complications, so I guess this wasn’t one of those times. Now, I’m okay to move on to even stupider things.
The planting in the front was no challenge at all, other than figuring plants large enough for the front of the house, and with the few considerations of damp soil and shade. A few azaleas and a variegated aucuba (Aucuba japonica ‘Picturata’) filled the area, with a few arborvitae ferns (Selaginella braunii, above) thrown in to cover the open spaces. I ran into roots of a few hostas that had declined in recent years, that faded badly in the late summer heat and drought. I expect there will be a few small conflicts next spring. But, these should be easily corrected and nothing to be too concerned about. By the time hostas pop up in the middle of the ferns it’s likely I’ll be planting something else.