Sunday, December 30, 2012

Looking back at gardening, 2012

Often I complain about neglecting the garden, or not getting enough time in it.  This year was different.  Much was effort toward 2013.  It's about the journey, and not the destination.  Sometimes.  A big part was making the Battleground place into "our" garden, instead of "that 2 acre lawn".  Not all of the 2 acre is/was lawn, but most of it.

These days, I'm less willing to think about 10 years down the road. I think more about tomorrow. Or next year. With a bow and aim for later years, of course. No one can plant a tree and not think that. But rather than waiting for the best time to plant, or waiting until soil prep was ideal, which takes time, I planted in the summer. I kept the soil prep to immediate areas around what was planted. That said, I did haul at least 8 truckloads of compost, so I did more than I'm acknowledging in that sentence. I mulched with thick layer of compost, and watered new trees and transplanted trees, conscientiously.   After I thought of it, I added mycorrhyzal inoculant.  Not knowing if that matters.   I added some not-ideal-but-promising big box store trees that needed some TLC, shaping, and root pruning, but constitute a head start on next year. My reasoning is, the added TLC would result in better plants, in 2013, than I could start or obtain in 2013, and maintenance would be less than if I start them in Spring.  The journey, Summer and Fall 2012, was digging, moving, planting more than I otherwise would have.  But the work isn't work.  It's therapy.

The pics are today, now, at the Battleground place. First frost of the year. Foggy. Very nice, quiet, solemn atmosphere.
Trees I moved from Vancouver. Size is based on my faulty memory
1. Mulberry, Illinois Everbearing.. Height about 7 foot. Trunk about thumb thick. Heavy root system.
2. Ginkgo. Height about 7 foot. Trunk, thumb thick. Heavy rood system.  Originally grown from a seed.
3. Two Hazelnuts. Height about 9 foot, pruned to about 6 ft. Trunks, thumb thick heavy root system.
4. Volunteer hazelnut, height 6 foot. Trunk, pinkie finger thick. Minimal roots.
5. Four volunteer hazelnut saplings, knee height, trunk pencil or thinner. Minimal roots.  Two are divided from the hazelnut in #4.
6. Volunteer red maple, knee height, trunk pencil thickness. Small but fully intact root system.
7. Three peaches, 2 from containers. Height, about waist, two with trunks pinkie finger thick. Indian Blood with severely pruned root system, due to bad digging on my part, so I pruned the top back as well.  That one was more thumb thick trunk.   I was surprised, it didn't wilt.  So maybe it survived.  The other two had more intact roots, because I grew in containers.
8. Morello cherry, shoulder height, trunk index finger. Root system moderate, not much pruning.
9. Almaden Duke cherry, Root system heavy, not much pruning.
10. Stanley plum. Height, top of my head. Trunk thumb thick. Heavy root system, minimal pruning.
11. Four small fig trees, foot tall to knee height, all form containers. Largest, Sal's fig, knee height, good roots; then Petite negri, foot tall, OK roots, and two King, foot tall, minimal roots. All from cuttings I started.
12. One larger fig tree, "Vancouver Brunswick", which I have pruned to maintain compact size over the years, so height does not reflect weight and volume. Height, top of my bald head, wrist thick trunk, root mass very heavy.   Root pruning was minimal.

Wow.  Wow!   Can't believe I did all of that. If I set out to move all of these, I could not have done it. Moving one or two or three at a time, I didn't think about that.  My Vancouver yard is much less congested.  The trees have a good chance to settle in before the stress of next summer, lots of time for root growth.  New growth will be limited by the existing root mass, which will help with survival and management.  And it's done.  There's not much else, of any size, that I would want to move.
Shrubs moved this year:
1. Forsythia, tall canes to 10 foot, slender. Pruned heavily to waist height. Trunk 2 thumbs thick. Roots, minimal for such a big shrub. Originally cutting-grown.
2. Rose of Sharon, kept pruned very compact for 10 years, chest height, but also pruned heavily to knee height. Trunk ankle thick. Pruned heavily due to root loss while digging. This one, I don't know if it will survive.
3. Small lilac, probably 6 years old but grown in shade, knee height, minimal root loss.
4. Rose of Sharon seedling, knee height, about 4 years old.
5. Three blueberry plants, knee height, neglected in shade and didn't water, so small, knee height. Much better location now. Compact roots, minimal loss.
6. One small Tamara rose grown a few years ago from cutting. I thought it died, but now some new growth. Maybe it will survive.
7. One burgundy leafed "Royal Purple" Eurasian Smoke Tree. Cotinus coggyria. I don't know if this is tree or shrub. Probably, small tree. Height about 8 foot but pruned back to chest height due to root loss. Root mass OK, loss minimal but there wasn't much.
8.  Three mugo pines, about 2 years old, about 1 foot tall.  Slow growers.
9.  One pieris cultivar.  It's been growing., barely, with a tall privacy fence blocking Southern sun, and trees and shrubs blocking eastern and western sun.  It was also in a retaining wall, which seems to have poor drainage - dig a couple of feet, and it's rock.  It might have once been a pond.  This pieris was abouit 4 ft tall, trunk about thumb thickness, doesn't look very healthy.  The new location gets a lot better light and drainage, so if it survives, it will be a lot happier.  Orchard Mason bees love Pieris.
10.  That big camellia that I moved last week.  About 8 foot tall, thumb thickness.  Good root mass, I think, although I could not get all of the roots, and pruned back the top from about 10 foot tall.  I read that camellias don't survive moving.  Maybe it will, it looks good for the moment.
11. Probably more, forgotten as of this writing.
There were also many bearded irises, perennials, and bulbs moved from Vancouver, or planted this summer and fall.
New Trees, added this summer and fall.
1. Four Lindens, Greenspire. One about 10 feet tall, trunk 2 thumbs thick. Originally balled/burlap, with roots extending into compost. Others about 6 to 8 feet tall, will need some guiding to develop central lead but otherwise look good. Bought largely due to my honey ambitions. I read they are not summer drought tolerant, but they do well in Vancouver. Experiment. Prices very cheap due to season close out, $8.00
2. One red leaf Norway maple, single thin lead to about 12 foot tall, trunk thumb thick, roots as for Lindens.
3. One hybrid Red maple, damaged trunk, minimal roots. I have doubts about whether it will survive. Ning liked it, and it was cheap - as I recall, about $16. Some TLC will be needed.
4. One Shan Xha, or Chinese Haw. Bare root, waist height, roots typical for bare root tree. Mail order, "One Green World".
5. One flowering plum, 8 foot tall, trunk thumb thickness. Roots as for Lindens. $16 due to late summer close out.
6. One Korean dogwood, height to top of my head, trunk thumb thick. Heavy root mass in container. This was the most expensive, $30 or so.
7. One Aspen, height to top of my head, compact roots, about $6 from a local nursery, same as the Red maple. I think they buy damaged trees from Oregon nurseries, from the look of the stock, but the prices were great.
8. One Laburnum, "golden chain tree". Height 10 feet. Needs some shaping. Trunk thumb thick. Really limited root mass. Would have fit in 2 gallon pot. Otherwise, similar idea to the Lindens. Ning was wanting this, so I bought on impulse. Big box store close-out. $16
9. One Mountain Ash, same source as the Red maple and Aspen. Height 10 feet. Trunk thumb thick.
10.  Two Asian plums, 6 foot tall, thumb thick trunks.  Containerized.
11.  Three small Pawpaws.  One foot tall.  I have doubts about their survival, but it's worth a try.
12.  One Asian pear, 5 foot tall, trunk index finger thick.  It wasn't looking happy, but I think it will be better in 2013.  Average volume roots as for Lindens.
13.  Two tiny Jujubes.  Mail order, containerized.  About one foot tall.  Basically saplings.

I think that's all. Wow that's a lot.
New Shrubs.
1.  One very small Cotinus starts
2.  Two very small virbunums
3.  Two blueberries, about waist height.
4.  One virbunum about waist height.
5.  One forsythia about waist height.
6.  One hydrangia about knee height.
7.  One weigelia about knee height.
8.  One additional Mugo pine about one foot tall
9.  Two Honey berries.  Basically, honeysuckles that produce blueberry-size berries.  About 1 foot, really just rooted cuttings.

Looking at the list, it doesn't seem possible.

It's great to have so much from years of growing, at the Battleground place, instead of them being new starts or costly nursery plants.  Some would not be available at such sizes.  Many are plants / trees / shrubs that I started, or grew from very small size, or "rescued".   Some will bear fruit in 2013, but if I bought them new it would be 2015 before the same varieties started producing even small amounts.  The extra room, and increased sunshine, less crowding, will result in faster growth here, and more productivity.

The comfort of having part of my old familiar garden, at the new place, is great.  The added new trees and shrubs, by planting in 1012, will mean 2013 will be more about puttering, pruning, shaping, and not nearly as much about adding and moving.  I know some trees, shrubs, and other plants may not make it.  There are some challenges adjusting to the change.  Deer and rabbits and squirrels will have effects, so not everything will work out.  I'll need to be diligent about watering, especially the new or transplanted trees and shrubs.  It's all good.


  1. Wow that's a LOT of work. Congrats on getting it all done and good luck for the new season.

  2. Wow! What a wonderful year. It is so heartening that incredible people like yourself take such great care of our beautiful planet. I just returned from a walk with my dog in our community plot is under 5 and a half feet of snow! All the best for the new year. L.A.

  3. Thanks very much for the nice comments! Have a great 2013!