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Moving Schipka Laurel for Rhododendron 'Loderi King George'

Picture it - a 6 ft. tall Schipka Laurel used to stand here (I forgot to take a "before" shot and don't feel like searching for one).  I knew when I planted it that it was probably a bad idea but thought it would be good for a fast-growing screen along the back fence-row. I'm sure all gardeners do this, especially if you have a new garden and are eager for greenery. In all fairness to the laurel, it is a useful plant and I would argue even a beautiful one when nicely maintained. Before I dug this one up, I stood back and admired it and felt the guilt pangs stabbing at my heart.  I removed a much larger laurel than this a few years ago and they are not the easiest plant to dig out. I was determined to save this one and I believe I was successful.  Here is a thought and you can take this to the bank - the pot you choose to hold a plant that you dig up will ALWAYS be too small. Always!  So, after finding the largest pot I could, here it is, after being cut back pretty dr

Spring lovelies

Rhododendron 'PJM' and Acer 'Sango Kaku'
I find myself a bit impatient for spring to arrive. Wait a minute - spring has arrived but you would not be able to tell it by the terrible weather we have been having. Cold, wet, windy, blah. I started back to work at the nursery last week and almost froze to death. Warmer and drier conditions are predicted later in the week. I think this is Spring Break for the school kids so I know they will be excited. I myself am ready for leaves on the trees.

Roses are on my mind. We just purchased a moon arch and I was hoping to get it up but the weather prevented that. We did get it together without any major problems. It lies waiting at the moment...

I already have a rose planted for the arch - 'Phyllis Bide' - a new one for me. I purchased six new roses yesterday and got all of them planted today except for one. I picked up several David Austin roses as well as a Romantica rose.

You can tell that spring has arrived when you look around the garden. Plants are budding out and there are a few blooms.

The first camellia I planted (a gift from our realtor) - 'Mathotiana'

Camellia 'Nuccio Bella Rosa' and Hellebore 'Gold Collection Merlin'

Magnolia "Dr. Merrill'

Lilac Daphne (Daphne genkwa, Hackenberry Group)

Barberry and California Lilac (Ceanothus thysiforus 'Black Diamond')

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. You have so much blooming in your garden despite the cold wet weather Phillip. Seeing these blooms makes my eyes happy. The Camillia and the Hellebore is such a good combo. All of those fluffy blooms make me happy. I think barberry is such a pretty shrub but they have become invasive here. Sigh...

  2. It looks pretty springy Phillip. I was watching your weather move inland and thought it must be cold and wet up there. Those storms keep missing us. They go north. We did finally get some rain, but it came up from southern Texas. Which David Austin roses did you buy? I actually bought some this year too. I haven't seen Rose Rosette for a couple of years. I hope it's blown through. Happy Spring.~~Dee

    1. I got 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' which I have wanted ever since seeing it. Also 'Lady Emma Hamilton'.

  3. I'm glad it's not just me that's FREEZING this week ! I did manage to get out late yesterday for garden duty .
    Looks it's warmer for the next few days at least . Happy Spring !

  4. Yes, it's been way too cold for me too. I keep trying to go out and do a little something in the garden, but the wind just blows me back in the house. It's supposed to be a little warmer and drier today, so I'm going to try again. Can't wait to see your moon arch!

  5. They are all lovely, but that lilac daphne is new to me. It's pretty spectacular.

  6. Sorry to hear about the wet weather. I can sympathize. We had 11 inches of rain in February! (I think one of our wettest Februaries on record.) And a good helping of rain again last night.

    Still, it's making for a very Green spring, which is pretty for sure. And the reservoirs are full, I imagine!

    My favorite photo here is the last one with all the colors and textures layered on top of one another and the focus artistically chosen. Good shot!

  7. When I think of the PNW, I think of the gorgeous rhododendrons I saw on a few spring visits several years ago--so beautiful! You have some lovely blooms--how I envy that gorgeous camellia. Spring is still in the wings here--we had over 4 inches of snow on Easter!

    1. Rhododendrons are one of the plants that I plan to add more of. There are so many selections, it is hard to make a decision. I love camellias and they are spectacular here. So many blooms!

  8. Wow the lilac daphne is gorgeous!

    I wondered if you were going to plant roses in your new garden, since you had so many in AL! My understanding is there is a lot less problems with rose diseases out west and you can grow more varieties than in the southeast.


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