It’s late May and our sunny, Seattle weather has lasted almost two weeks, but rain is on the horizon. I’ve been busy planting and weeding and transplanting. Some shrubs like camellias and daphnes are notoriously difficult to transplant and I haven’t had much success with those. I have had success with transplanting magnolias (another difficult plant.) But there are a few Northwest shrubs that are super easy to transplant and this holiday weekend is a great time to get in last-minute switches. They all share a kind of pancake of fibrous root system that makes for a smoother transition to a new home. They must be watered immediately after the move and then watered well and often, but if they get enough water, they’ll snuggle right in. I’ve had several not even wilt temporarily. So before the hot, regular stretches of sun approach, I recommend making edits to the garden now.
Rhodies are so tough. My most successful rhododendron transplant story happened a few years ago when my friend Angela and I transplanted about 10 shoulder-high shrubs to a shadier, woodland location. They all survived. It’s amazing how rhododendrons bounce back.
Who doesn’t love a hydrangea? Showy huge blossoms, either mophead or lacecap, an elegant leaf pattern, a graceful branch structure. When pruned and trimmed correctly, hydrangeas offer their gifts for many years. When I inherited a handful of hydrangeas in my garden, they were healthy enough but in hot afternoon sun. So I transplanted them to locations where they received afternoon shade and they’re thriving.
This photo shows a mature Hebe buxifolia, but, of course, there are several smaller species with white flowers, pink, purple, even dark blue. I use them for client homes when a more formal look is desired. They’re a wonderful alternative to the odd-smelling boxwood and rarely need pruning.
What plants are you moving this weekend in the garden? And if you’ve had good luck with a traditionally fussy plant, I’d love to hear about it!