As I mentioned in my weekend to do list a few weeks ago, I had to move half a garden of perennials this spring. I didn’t do this because it was fun or because it was good for my health, I did it because I had to.
When I moved into this house ten years ago, all the trees in the neighborhood were babies. Check out this photo that I dug out of the archives. This was nine years ago. Look at how tiny the trees are, you can see the neighbor’s house! Back then, the entire garden was full sun.
|Perennial garden 2002|
Here is the same garden from last year. It’s not the exact same angle, but you can see how much larger the trees were. You can’t even see the house behind us anymore.
|Perennial garden 2011|
The trees are great for privacy, but now the right half of this garden is almost full shade. I knew this was happening, and I’ve procrastinated for a few years. Last year the full sun perennials were starting to struggle… so, alas, I could no longer put this project off. Last fall I decided that this had to be the year, and I had to get it done first thing in the spring.
Moving this many perennials is a ton of work! To make it easier on myself, I decided to tackle this project in phases…
- Phase 1: Create new full sun garden area
- Phase 2: Planning and planting new full sun garden area
- Phase 3: Planning and planting shady garden area
I planned ahead and chose a full sun location in the front yard last fall. I started this new garden area with the lasagna gardening method, and it worked fantastic! We had a very mild winter, so the grass didn’t decompose as fully as I expected. But, it was dead and that made this perennial relocation project ten times easier!
|New garden area made with lasagna gardening (Phase 1)|
This spring, I ended up changing the size of the garden, and I put in black plastic edging. As a result, I had to remove some sod. That alone took almost as long as moving all the perennials. Next time I start a new garden with the lasagna method, I will determine the size of the garden and put the edging in before I start piling on the layers. That way, I won’t have to dig up any grass.
Phase 2: Planning and planting new full sun garden area
The first thing I did this spring was make a list of all the plants I had to relocate. I took the time to look up the height, spacing and bloom times of each plant on the list. Once I had that done, I was able to come up with a plan for the new garden. I even made a crude drawing of the garden to help keep me on track as I was moving plants.
|Drawing of garden plan (not drawn to scale)|
I’ve never taken the time to plan out a garden area before. Wow, this really helped speed things up when it came to planting. I was able to plant everything cascading by height; the tall stuff in the middle, and the shortest in front. I interspersed plants with different bloom times, so this garden will be ever blooming from the early spring crocus to late fall chrysanthemums. I also feel confident that I spaced my plants far enough apart so I won’t have major crowding issues. (My biggest problem is overcrowding, a bad habit I’ve been working to break for a few years.)
Here’s the result…
|Newly planted garden area (phase 2 perennial relocation complete)|
It doesn’t look that impressive now, but in a year or two… Let’s just say I can’t wait to see what this garden will looks like once it has matured.
Phase 3: Planning and planting shady garden area
As for my new shade garden area, well it’s looking pretty empty right now. I haven’t done anything with it since pulling out all the full sun perennials. Don’t worry, I have big plans for that half of the garden (including an expansion!). But that’s for a future blog post. Stay tuned!
|Garden area used to be full sun, now shady|
All and all, this perennial relocation project wasn’t as bad as I expected. Taking the time to plan it out by starting the lasagna garden last fall, and drawing out my plan definitely saved me time and headaches.