Dig, dig, plant

I tackled a fairly big project last weekend, one that should pay off for me in future years. It may even pay off early this summer.

The first step was to remove this Miscanthus sinensis. It grew as a seedling from 'Gracillimus' but didn't have the narrow blades of the parent, so wasn't overly attractive. It also seemed to flop a bit here. I decided last summer that it had to go.


The only problem: what to plant in its place. It's between two bamboos, at the top of the hill that turns in to my prairie beds:

I knew I wanted some substantial (large) plant here, but what? Another grass? A shrub? Well I finally decided, and the clue is in the photo above -- but more on that in a minute.

The grass has to come out first, which can take some effort.

You do need appropriate tools.

A few chops in and I realized that my tools were not cutting as well as they should be:

Since I haven't returned my neighbor's bench grinder yet (he said there was no rush) I was able to clean up the business end of this:

And soon had the grass out:

I made sure to get every piece out that I could find:

There was also a bamboo rhizome that escaped under here (as mentioned before, I wasn't overly diligent with rhizome pruning last year):

Or two:

Maybe there was more under here than I thought...

Okay, the area is clear. What to plant here now? Well, check the arching canes in the shadowy background of this photo:

There's a climbing rose back there, one that my previous neighbor (since moved) salvaged from another garden and planted five years ago or so. It did okay there on its own (he's a "plant it and forget it" type of guy) and bloomed really nicely one year -- then my bamboo grew up a bit and this plant gets no direct sunlight at all anymore.

I told the new neighbor about this rose's plight and he said "what rose? It's yours if you want it!"

It's not in terrible shape, considering its full-shade location:

(The heavy snow a few weeks ago bent these bamboo culms down a lot more than they usually are. I haven't propped them back up yet -- that project comes in a few weeks.)

So I pruned it a bit:

Dug it up -- the soil was surprisingly wet back here, considering it's sloped:

Prepared the new hole with lots of manure and bagged topsoil:

Then added some mycorrhizae to help with root establishment:

I like adding this stuff whenever I plant something substantial, especially if it was a transplant and needs to regrow some root mass.

So it's all planted!

Signs of growth:

I don't have high expectations for blooms this year, but we'll see. I'm excited about adding another rose to the garden!

(The grass divisions all went into the compost pile.)


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Alison  – (April 7, 2013 at 10:22 AM)  

I have some small divisions of Miscanthus still in little pots. I've been afraid to plant them, because I've heard that moving them is such a pain. I figure that means when I plant them I have to pick the absolutely right spot.

I hope the rose flourishes in its new sunny spot.

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