Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Woman With Shovel

Each spring I take a critical tour of my garden to assess what needs changing. My trees and shrubs tremble at what they know is coming. The four most fearsome words in my garden are "she's got the shovel."

I have a transplant shovel, a digging spade and a fork. This year Jim bought me an entrenching tool. It's actually a Tactical Military Folding Shovel Pick Entrenching Tool and Survival Spade. The one in the picture online has a bottle opener on it. Mine doesn't, but I've used the tool on a trial basis for the past week and find I can live without a bottle opener.

No tree in my yard is safe now, no shrub in my borders can rest. Here are a few of the things I've managed to accomplish so far:

I filled the open spot in the hedge of bottlebrush buckeyes where one was taken out last fall. I dug root suckers from the established plants and moved them into the open area. As always with most of my transplanting efforts, the procedure involved ripping out roots and probably killing them in the process.
This is the good-sized sucker that I dug from nearby bottlebrush buckeyes in the hedge
and transplanted to the empty spot, along with some other smaller ones. It has buds.

  • I dug up the post that the wireless weather station was on. I don't use it any more, so I took it out. I filled the deep hole that remained with a lot of dirt and a tiny sassafras sapling. Of course I did. It's spring and I think I have planted sassafras trees on the back hill every spring I have gardened here. This one will be a lawn tree, not part of my developing grove on the back hill.

  • I dug up several of the blueberries that were out in the meadow and put them in spots on the back of the spruce berm where they'll do better and where I can see them.
The half-high blueberries (3 kinds) in the meadow were bright spots in fall, but were lost all summer
in the meadow weeds. They'll do better and be prettier on the berm or at the back of Meadow's Edge garden.

  • I transplanted the blue beech sapling (Carpinus caroliniana) that was on the west side of the gravel garden. I moved it to the back of Meadow's Edge garden, but in its new spot it is too near the red maple that dominates that garden. Even I can see it's too crowded there. Tomorrow I'll re-dig it and move it to the  left end of the chevron strip at the back of the yard where it will anchor that strip and get a little afternoon shade, which it likes.
Carpinus caroliniana - blue beech, or ironwood. A slow grower, this little sapling would not
provide shade by the gravel garden for a long, long time

  • In the empty spot at the back of Meadow's Edge where I had thought the beech might fit, I'll dig up and replant the remaining blueberries from the meadow. Just as soon as I move the beech tree. There's a domino effect to all this moving about.

  • I planted a new Stewartia where the blue beech had been on the west side of the gravel garden. It will give me afternoon shade to sit in (the blue beech was going to take years to do that, since it's such a slow grower.) This Stewartia is 'Skyrocket' and will be tall and vertical for this narrow space. It's a substitute for the gloriously beautiful Stewartia monadelpha I lost a year ago.
The new Stewartia henryae 'Skyrocket' -- already tall and slender and leafing out.
It will quickly provide shade for the gravel garden sitting area.

More moves are planned. More transplanting needs to occur. I have more than one shovel in my arsenal and I plan to use them all.


  1. A woman's life is not complete without a good, tactical grade shovel!

    1. Best tool ever. I'm thinking of ways I could use it indoors.