A busy morning of replanting and unplanting

It's been so hot here lately, early morning is the best time for me to get some gardening done. Yesterday morning was quite busy, so let's jump into it!

First up is repotting of a Colocasia (elephant ears), in this case a "black-stemmed" variety. I'm going to put it into a clay pot, and since clay pots dry out fast but elephant ears like moist soil, I'll help the pot retain more water.

Here's the pot I want to use:

As you can see it has a pretty large drainage hole:

But I'll cover it with a small piece of plastic that I cut from a broken plastic plant pot. Notice I poked a smaller hole in it:

I can always enlarge the hole later if I think it's not draining well enough, but I'm not too worried about that with this plant.

With that taken care of I can put the plant in:

As you can see it's putting out "runners" to create more plants. Since this is the first year I'm growing this variety, I'm not sure exactly how that works, but I'll find out pretty soon it looks like!

All finished! Normally I would water plants that I've just put into a larger pot, but since this isn't the final spot for this pot, no water yet. No point in making the already heavy pot even heavier, right?

Next up is another large clay pot which contained a small cherry tree. The tree died this spring after starting to leaf out. I suspect I didn't water it enough during our early warm spell.

This pot will be getting a cardoon, which is really crawling with ants for some reason.

Taking a closer look, the ants are there for the mealy bugs, which produce "honeydew" that the ants like:

There are also quite a few of these other little bugs on the underside of the leaves (in the lower left corner of this photo), and the ants seem to be tending them too:

There's another sort of mealy bug too, or something similar. Sheesh!

With all of these pests, I'll need to get out the insecticidal soap and spray the plant down. Hopefully that should take care of the pests, and the ants will leave this plant alone. I've noticed ants on the cardoon previous years too, but I never took a close enough look to figure out what they were doing there.

Here it is, all potted up:

Not too impressive yet, but it will start taking off soon.

That takes care of the replanting for this morning, so now on to the "unplanting". I'm going to remove a Chasmantium latifolium, or "wood oats":

I really like this plant, but it doesn't work here anymore. With the bamboo in the background, this one is just too similar looking. Besides, it's too large, and reseeds like crazy! Here's the bed it's in:

See how similar it is in texture to the bamboo?

First step is to chop the plant down to just a few inches tall:

Then start digging! This plant is a few years old so it's rootball is quite tough...

...I'll use my heavy-duty digging bar though, and I soon have the plant out:

Let's get a close look at that tool:

It's great for chopping and prying. Quite heavy though.

Now that the area is opened up, I'll add a concrete paver as a base for a large pot:

(I could just put the pot onto a leveled spot in the soil, but there's a hole left here, and leveling it out will take a lot more work. Using the paver is a lot easier, and makes a much sturdier base.)

Then add the pot:

There's still a lot more I want to do with this area, but it's already starting to really work for me, much more than the grass was.

The larger leaves will add some textural variety, and the pots add visual interest. It's going to look really nice someday soon. I'll work on this bed more over the next few days, and it will just get better (I hope).

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