Writings about

the many life lessons

unearthed when we dig

in the dirt . . . and pursue

a range of other interests

in the constantly evolving

garden of life.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Making a Move – Better Late . . . .

Location, location, location. That's elementary in real estate, yes, and of course it's a basic principle in gardening, too. Knowing that, you might wonder how I could have let my Japanese stewartia languish six or seven years in a bad location. Especially, as I usually have no qualms about moving plants; mine get moved so much, they ought to be on wheels.

In this case, my failure to move must be because I was moving and planting too fast to notice that this appealing little tree was just sitting there – outside the kitchen window. I enjoyed looking at it and idly wondered why it hadn't bloomed. It looked happy, good-looking foliage, good growth, but not even a bud, ever.
At Long Last, and Worth the Wait

 Last year, I began questioning whether, despite its appearance, there might be just a bit too much shade for the plant; the spot got sun but less after we added a room to the house. And, while the literature includes partial shade as OK, I began questioning whether it depends on what you mean by partial.

The questions got louder, and in mid-summer, when I should have been seeing those white camellia-like blossoms, I dug stewartia up and moved it to a sunnier spot.

Bingo! It bloomed this year, despite warnings that this tree is difficult to get established; maybe this move was considered a lateral move, not a disturbance, because it was just to the other side of the house. In any case, it sure was a changed tree, growing many buds that began opening in June and continuing as I write, threatening to bloom into August. Not a simultaneous show of blooms but one or two at a time; they don't stay long, but each gives a fine little show before dropping to the ground.

I understand that the blooms will be followed by pointed brown seed pods; maybe I'll see them, maybe the birds will get them first. No matter. I'm just glad I didn't make my move too late. That move proves that gardening can be a matter of feet; a little distance can make a big difference. It proves, too, that gardening often is a matter of trial and error.

Or, as my father cheerfully told his garden-magazine-writing son: "You learn more from your own mistakes and successes than you can learn from gardening magazines."


  1. You had a very smart Father. I read "In My Father's Garden", enjoyed it so much I've loaned it to some of my fellow garden club members...We're the Ball Ground (Anetsa-Ga-Da)Garden Club in Ball Ground, GA, approx. 1 hour NE of Atlanta. Speaking of moving plants, I've got to move my daylily, Red Suspenders, from between my hydrangeas, which have gotten huge and they're blocking the sun! Didn't bloom this year :( Love your blog...have shared with many fellow gardners!

  2. Hello, Bev,

    I'm touched by your fine words about my father and my book. Too, I'm delighted you're enjoying my blog and are sharing it.

    It sure is good to hear from you – and from Ball Ground, which I know from going to the cabin we used to own in Fannin County.

    It's a good thing our plants let us know when they need moving. Good luck with that Red Suspenders.


  3. I am not familiar with Japanese stewartia. You piqued my interest, so I looked it up. Seems like an attractive ornamental tree with interesting bark and showy fall color in addition to the white blossoms. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Indeed, it's a charming tree, and I look forward to its continuing show. Sharing it is my pleasure. As is my hearing from you.


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