From time to time a gardener feels the need to relocate a plant that has outgrown its assigned space. Our salvia “Purple Majesty” exploded this season in girth and height. The plant, pruned to three feet mid-season, roared back reaching well over seven feet. Shorter plants languished under the salvia’s massive umbrella, and as we surveyed the garden from the porch swing I found a workable solution. We planned to relocate the salvia to an adjacent garden where the removal of a mature poplar tree had left a void. The salvia would have the full sun it loves as well as enough space to spread out without swamping its garden neighbors.
Though the straight-line moving distance is short, the gardens are separated by a stand of new grass planted in September. Dragging the salvia across the fairway would likely leave marks so I must load the salvia on some type of wheeled device, either the garden cart or the wheelbarrow.
The bees and hummingbirds love “Purple Majesty”. I’ve been waiting for cooler weather to make the move so that the bumble bee traffic might be lighter. A mild October morning offered low 60’s with a slight drizzle and few bees. I grabbed the shovels and we went to work.
Moving a plant this size requires much discussion before and during the process, but then that describes marriage, too, doesn’t it? We begin with the big picture in mind—we want to get married, stay married, and be happy and in love for the rest of life. And then we find out the work comes in the details. I recently completed a book, Quest for the Perfect Wife, giving insight for men on making marriage work. I can’t drag my wife to the garden to move a huge plant, and then ignore her suggestions and input. She’s not the hired help. Shawn offered excellent suggestions as we worked to uproot the salvia.
We wrapped ropes around the plant to draw the branches tighter and to give access to the base. I shoveled a circle around the plant to mark the extent of the root ball we needed to preserve, and we gradually dug deeper angling toward the center of the circle. The idea was to break the massive plant loose, tilt it onto a tarp, and pull the load to the sidewalk.
Patience is required, and clothing will get dirty. I used a shovel as a pry bar to raise the root ball as we worked around the circle. With the tarp tucked under one side of the root ball we pulled to force it completely under the plant. Next, with each of us tugging on our end of the tarp, we moved the plant out of the hole.
Together we tilted the wheelbarrow, slid the root ball onboard, and stood the wheelbarrow upright. The plant suddenly appeared much larger. How will we get it to the new site without toppling the load? I wheeled the wheelbarrow with Shawn giving directions from the front since I could not see where I was rolling.
Whew! We made it. We slid the plant into its pre-dug hole, turned it left and right for just the right presentation and back-filled with rich soil. I watered thoroughly and gave thanks when God did the same with a heavy downpour a few hours later. And the bees did not seem to upset by the move.
Now, what shall we plant in the open space?
The garden is always in motion.