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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


Begonia 'Canary Wings' at the top left, surrounded by various fuchsias.

A few annuals scattered throughout the garden and in pots on the deck. They are well-watered and fertilized weekly or sometimes bi-weekly. Most do well with the exception of the annual Vinca which has failed me every time I've planted it. It was a staple in the old garden but doesn't want to grow in the new one. 

Here are some of the ones that look good at the moment -

Cleome 'Senorita Rosalita' - I remember growing cleome, or "spider flowers" we called them, in Alabama and they would get huge, towering to 6 feet or more in late summer. I really love this dwarf variety and I liked it so much last year that I planted it again this year. 

Wishbone Flower (Torenia) - another favorite for shadier areas. Not a lot of blooms on this one right now. I have it in a pot on the deck.

Dichondra is another favorite. It is a very versatile plant and grows fine in full sun or even full shade. 

I've become a big fan of snapdragons since moving to the Pacific Northwest. In the South, they were treated like pansies and only did well during the cooler periods. It grows all season here and the colors are amazing, especially the salmon/orange combination. In the foreground is a dwarf lavender and heather.

Outside the front window, Allium 'Millenium', heathers ('Multicolor' and 'Firefly'), buddleia, snapdragon, echinacea, hebe and Viburnum 'Davidii'.

Coleus 'Electric Slide' has overshadowed the hosta and grass. 

Coleus 'Hottie'


Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus) overwintered in our kitchen window. This has become another favorite because it seems to bloom constantly in full shade on the deck. 

Begonia 'Dragonwing' doesn't seem to be as floriferous as it normally is, not only in this pot but elsewhere as well. It is a mystery.

Another shot of the snapdragon with a new echinacea that I forget the name of.

Lantana out by the street ('Rozann' geranium in back). 


Plectranthus 'Guacamole' has been amazing! This is the first time I've grown this one.

Painted Tongue (Salpiglossis sinuata)

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Lovely, one and all, Phillip. I keep planning to plant Cleome from seed or plugs but somehow always fail to do do when that window is open. I can't imagine snapdragons blooming during the summer - like your Alabama garden, they're a spring flower here.


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