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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

Transplanting & Pruning

First - I finally have some blooms (crocus) to share. Winter lingers and we've only seen a few days lately with temperatures above 50. Hopefully, next week it will be warmer but more heavy rain is on the way.

I've started pruning roses and transplanting. I'm not finished with the roses but I got one of the largest finished - 'Lady of Shalott'. When I looked it up on my inventory list, I was flabbergasted to see that it is seven years old. That doesn't seem right but there it, planted in February of 2016. The growth has become quite dense so I thinned it out. I also made a video for my YouTube channel of how I prune it. This is the final result -

There are several plants that I want to move this year. The first is Hypericum 'Pumpkin' (St. Johns Wort) that has attained massive proportions and much too large next to the pathway in front. The problem, of course, is where to move it to. I then got the idea of moving the buddleia, residing about six feet away, and putting the hypericum in its spot. The buddleia ("Buzz Hot Raspberry") is another plant that got much larger than it was supposed to so I'm moving it to the back garden.

If you haven't moved a mature buddleia before, I have news for you - it isn't easy. The roots go very deep and it took me a while to get this out of the ground. First I pruned it all the way down, to about 2 feet tall.

This job took two shovels, including my trench digging spade -

The new home for the buddleia was very easy to dig. Most of the dirt in this location has been added by myself and built up over the years. Of course the hole was much larger than this -

The St. John's Wort wasn't nearly as bad. You can see in the photo that the root ball is much smaller and the roots are finer.

Planted in a new home -

There is much more to do in this department and hopefully the weather will clear up soon and I can get it done. 

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Moving plants is the scariest job in my garden, which is probably why I don't do as much of it as I should. Kudos to you!

    1. Kris, it is one of my least favorite activities. I bet though in your climate, plants fare rather well (with watering of course).

  2. Moving woody plants or digging out a stump--they are an ordeal that usually requires some plant-based retail therapy afterwards. ;^)


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