The light was beautiful, the air was fresh and the day was perfect.
I took advantage of the cool weather and made some moves that involved digging and hauling and hacking.
I took out the bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) at the back of Meadow's Edge. It's a pretty plant, and in summer it is leafy and screens the weeds behind this garden. But it leafs out so very late, and looks ratty until it does. It gets such winter damage and it just wasn't making me happy. Out.
The purpleleaf sand cherry that was hidden behind the viburnum in Meadow's Edge was dug up (oomph) and moved just a few feet to the spot where the bayberry had been. It is now visible from the patio. Big improvement.
It's a bit misshapen from being crammed in behind the viburnum, but it will fill out.
I like the way its wine colored shimmery foliage is an echo of the 'Forest Pansy' redbud's leaves. The redbud is alive, despite my misgivings this spring, and once I cut away all the winterkilled branches (about third of the total), it looks okay, although much smaller than last year.
Then I moved some 'Husker's Red' penstemons to the spot next to the sand cherry. A nice complement with its red tinged foliage.
Then Jim and I dug out the rest of the 'Bloodgood' maple stump. What a job. The John Deere riding mower had to be called into service. We chopped off all the roots we could get to, then tied a cord to the stump and attached it to the John Deere. We rocked the tractor back and forth and eventually loosened the stump enough to wrangle it out. It took a couple hours and Jim's back is toast.
I dug up the seedling 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple that Cassidys gave us last year. It had been in the border along the gravel garden, but with all the dark purple leaved plants on that side of the garden, it would have been too much, and I wanted to move it to the east side where there are no dark leaved plants.
I put it in a pot, and put the pot in the place where the original Japanese maple had been. Once the deck is redone later this summer, I'll plant it in its permanent spot exactly where the original 'Bloodgood' maple had been. For now it will hold the spot in its container.
In the spot next to the gravel garden vacated by the little seedling Japanese maple, I planted a small American hornbeam.
It is Carpinus caroliniana. It has excellent blue muscular looking bark, and is called blue beech, or musclewood, for that reason. The cool looking bark will be easily visible so close to the seating area.
This small sapling had been out in the meadow but was not thriving. An animal scraped the bark and it barely leafed out last year. This year it still looked wimpy. So I dug it up and put it in a container and all of a sudden it leafed out and started looking good.
Well, okay then.
It wants to live after all, and in the new spot of prominence by the gravel garden I hope it does. It will get to 25 feet tall, slowly, and provide shade just where I need it. I will have to keep it limbed up to see the bark, and to keep it from swamping the small area it is in.
This all sounds so routine -- moving a few plants around, pffft. But it was very, very hard work, and digging up the Japanese maple stump was a job that young men with power tools should have done, not two 65 year olds with pruning handsaws and an underpowered lawnmower.
But we did it and I am very happy with the results. I like the purpleleaf sand cherry in its new site, next to the dark leaved penstemons and now visible from the patio. I like the hornbeam that will provide shade along the gravel garden in a few decades or so.
And I really like replacing the deceased Japanese maple with another one in exactly the same spot. It just looks right there, even while it is still in a container waiting to be planted.