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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

Visiting Shari & John's Garden Again

It was in the fall of 2020 that I last saw Shari McDonald and John Hembroff's garden. I can't believe that was 2 1/2 years ago but, as they say, time flies when you're having fun (actually these days I think time flies no matter what mood you're in).

Shari said they had some damage during the winter. A tree fell in the front garden and while it didn't do a lot of damage, it did open up more space.

I absolutely love this garden and every time I see it, I feel the need to go home and start ripping everything out in our overstuffed garden and start over. It is so well designed and tranquil, truly a place to retreat from the noise and bustle of everyday life.

I ask myself how I would adjust to a shade garden. I know I would miss flowers, especially roses, but I also know that I prefer shade over sun.  

After entering, you are surrounded by plants and huge rocks. After walking a short distance down a flagstone pathway, you turn around and look back to this view -

To the right is a large Koi pond and waterfall -

Going around to the back garden reveals more treasures. This is a small garden but Shari has found room for a large amount of choice plants.

Hydrangea aspera

I forgot to ask Shari but I'm pretty sure the large variegated rhododendron is Rhododendron ponitcum 'Variegatum'. It has a beautiful purple bloom. The smaller rhododendron at the foot is 'Ebony Pearl' -

Back around to the front - this was taken along the side of the garden by the street - 

One more closer look at that inviting entrance -

Thanks again Shari and John - your garden is a treasure!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I went back to see the first post, from fall of 2020. I couldn't pick which season shows this magnificent garden best: it is spectacular in both, and I also love shade gardens.
    Photo 7 is a tapestry in green. I love it.

  2. It's a beautiful and very serene garden. I could almost feel my blood pressure falling.

  3. What a beautiful garden, if I walked by that entrance I would want to peek inside!


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