Sunday, May 1, 2016


No, this title does not refer to plants that would not be allowed to use their preferred restroom in North Carolina. These are plants that I moved from various other locations to the landscape around my house. Actually in two cases I just moved plants already growing here to a different location on the lot. One died within a few days, and the other seems to still be thriving after a week. I'm not even certain what they are, but a friend said they look like dogwoods. This is one of the few species of small trees I've been considering planting. Both were growing within a few feet of a rear wall of the house. The first I tried to simply pull out of the ground with the roots intact and place in a new hole. The roots came out mostly okay, but after a few days of going back and forth between looking sick and well, it ultimately died. For the other I decided to be more careful and dig the whole root ball out with a shovel and place it in a new hole. For both I applied copious amounts of an organic fertilizer I didn't know could be bought at your local garden store - 100% worm shit. Here's the survivor in its new home at the front of the house, beside the driveway:

Another risky planting I decided on pretty much by impulse as I entered Whole Foods a few weeks ago is a fig tree. I knew this species prefers lots of sun, which is not available on my wooded lot. But I like eating figs, and I like the ancient and biblical history of this plant even more, so I thought I'd give it a shot. The worst that could happen is that it would die and my 20 bucks would have only bought a good learning experience. After two weeks it still seems to be doing fine:

I impulse-bought two other plants at Whole Foods the same day (my grocery cart looked like I was hauling around a rainforest) - a raspberry plant:

and a blueberry plant, which already has young blueberries on it:

I'll probably have to wake up earlier than the birds to harvest any of these berries, or figs, for myself. But I don't mind sharing. There is a blueberry plant that was growing wild in these woods before I even built the house, and since last year several blackberry plants have sprouted up on their own. So I think these berries may do okay. The wild blueberry has been thriving and very productive in its mostly shady environment. I'm concerned about the raspberry though, since the instructions specifically say (as with the fig) to locate it in full sun. I located it in a place that gets more sun than most on this lot, but it's still pretty limited.

I like the idea of an "edible landscape" - not creating a defined vegetable garden, but developing the landscaping with plants that just happen to produce food.

Having said that though, the other trans-plants I put in will not produce anything I can eat. One is a second azalea for the courtyard:

My landscape plan for the courtyard calls for a giant azalea in each of the four corners, each with different colored flowers. So this is the second of the four, placed diagonally from the first, which has magenta flowers. The new one's blooms will be white.

I placed two other new plants behind the house, because they will eventually be full-grown trees, and there isn't really room for more full-grown trees in the front. These are "seedling" Japanese maples, not really even large enough to be called saplings - one green leaf:

And one red leaf:

My interest in these maples is partly that they thrive in shade, but mostly that their leaves provide lots of color, especially in the fall. Currently there are very few trees here that provide fall color. The green leaf maple should turn bright yellow, and the red leaf of course will be red all year round, but I was told they turn bright red in fall.

I saved my favorite planting for last - a confederate jasmine vine:

This already has a few flowers starting to open, which is surprising because the other confederate jasmine vines I've known have bloomed in summer, June or July.

I first experienced one of these in the Italian countryside on a study-abroad trip as an architecture student. There was one growing up the entry stair of the place our class lived for two months of the trip:

The fragrance of the flowers was what struck me most; it's very aromatic, distinctive and sweet. I planted the one at my house at the base of a large tree so it can climb the branches. If I go missing and eventually turn up in Tuscany, it may be because of catching the aroma of these flowers one too many times.

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