Thursday, April 16, 2020

First Planting Day!

It was finally planting day at my new home in the northeast "Big Woods"! Moving 1,200 miles from my South Louisiana home of 17 years was tough in many ways, one of which was leaving my flowers. That incident gave, "You can't take it with you!" a whole new meaning! Check out the photos of my first "Planting Day" after the big move!

Yes, moving is tough, especially when you move long distances! If you have lived and moved to different areas of the United States, you know exactly what I'm talking about! When I made the first big move from West Virginia to South Louisiana, I tried to take some of my plants with me. The moving van drivers talked me out of it. They explained the plants would be spending about 4 days locked in a hot truck with no fresh air. In their words, I would be "committing suicide on behalf of my plants"! Reluctantly, I agreed. The plants stayed, and I started over again in the South! 

In South Louisiana when we arrived at our new home, there were shrubs, a Mexican Fan Palm Tree, and a large Cut-Leaf Philodendron, but no flowering plants. The first year was definitely a learning experience! We lived where a sugarcane field had once been and had what they called "Black Jack" soil. That soil was definitely good for growing sugarcane, but not so much for growing flowers, so the plants did not fare well. Among other things,I learned that some plants could tolerate the hot sun and some could not. I also learned that lava rock is not good for weed control; my plants fried! The second year, I talked to an expert at a local garden center and learned how to amend the soil. He also gave advice as to what to plant where. By the time we moved, our yard was a "Tropical Oasis"! It was so hard to leave my plants again. For the "recipe" to amend the soil, go to:

Now, I would be "starting over again" for the second time! When I visited the new home, I only saw one tiny flowering plant that was more of a ground cover. I later found out it was Periwinkle. I would be basically starting with a "blank slate" again. I vowed that this time would be different; I would do my "Homework" before I started gardening! First, I had to know what zone I now lived in to know when I could safely start planting. Thank goodness for Google! The growing season is much shorter here in Zone 7 than it was in Zone 11. Of course, different plants thrive in different areas. 

The soil is very different, here, too.  We have sandy clay soil where we now live, so I am amending the soil again. Of the three states we have lived in, West Virginia wins for the richest soil that was the easiest to work with. 

A major obstacle for growing plants at our current location is the shade. While I love living in the "Big Woods", so far we have not been very successful with growing vegetables. There just isn't enough sunshine! 

Too much shade hindered the garden!

Project 1: Repotting the trees

I had bought 2 dwarf evergreen trees for Christmas decorations and placed them in 2 decorative pots beside of the porch steps. My husband Charlie drilled holes in 2 new 1/2 barrel planters and placed them a few feet from the corners of the log home. Rocks were placed in the bottom of each planter for drainage, and soil was placed about halfway in each. The amended soil mixture filled the planters the rest of the way up. 

One dwarf tree was planted in each barrel. Later, I would add some vines.

I had done lots of online research as to which plants would grow in shady areas before I went on the plant shopping trip. The ladies in the Nursery were very helpful in directing me as to what would grow best here. I bought plants that could tolerate shade and part shade such as Dracaena, Ivy, Impatiens, Coleus, Creeping Jenny, and Begonia.

The plants looked beautiful on my porch!

Project 2: Louisiana Planters

I used the advice I received in Louisiana as I planted some pots and planters that I had brought with me: 1 tall plant, a trailing plant, and flowering plants.

These tall planters were
handmade in Viet Nam.
I bought this 1/2 planter (that looks like it is buried) at the garden center in Louisiana. The tree on the right has a natural "built-in" place for planting!

The planter below is another favorite that I brought with me from Louisiana. I did leave my plants there; I just repotted some of them and brought a few of my favorite pots with me!

A tall plant needed!

Project 3: Barrel Planters at End of Driveway

My oldest grandson Noah helped me with some of the planting, especially the 2 planters at the end of the driveway. The previous owners left the planters with soil in them, so I just amended the soil.

Again I planted a tall plant, a trailing plant, and some flowering plants. Little did I know that the deer love most of these plants, too! I found out the hard way, but that's another story!

Grandson Alex and granddaughter Mia helped with some of the planting, but they liked cooling off with the water-hose even better!

Project 4: 2 Concrete Planters

Two concrete planters were also planted with impatiens. Not bad for a good day's work, if I do say so myself!

At the end of the day, I was exhausted, filthy dirty, and happy! My first planting day at the new home was a huge success! I had literally put down some roots! More planting and projects would follow, but for now I felt in my heart that this was really my new home.

Mother's Day gift - a new fountain (I left a similar one in Louisiana). needs flowers! That's another project for another day! It's time to go plant shopping again!

Another project for another day!

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