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A Different Kind of Packing

August 14th, 2012

Over the past 6 years I’ve been collecting a wide variety of plants of all colors, shapes and sizes, some of them rare, many of them nurtured from tiny seeds. Many of the plants from my collection will be moved to Maine via cuttings, seeds and a few as potted plants.

Over the past month I’ve been taking cuttings of the hydrangeas in my collection that I won’t be digging up. Most of these have been gifts from Mr Chiots. I have close to 30 different varities in my collection, they range from mature shrubs of 10 feet to tiny first year plants with just a few leaves. There are 10 or so that are small enough to be dug up and potted to make the move. The larger ones are moving via cuttings.

I’ve also been saving seeds for a wide variety of plants that have proven themselves to be great specimens. There’s a stunning yellow/green foxglove that is very hardy and quite lovely, as well as a regular tall purple foxglove that has seeded down every year and managed to survive our coldest winters. My black hollyhocks will also travel by seed to Maine, along with a beautiful pink hardy hibiscus. My collection of herbs will be also traveling by seed as well, catnip, greek oregano and a few others.

There’s even a master list of all the plants I want to take so I don’t forget any. Luckily if I do miss any of my favorites I can probably find seeds or plants in Maine, though I’d much rather have a descendant of one of my plants here. My mom has most of the family heirloom plants so I don’t have to worry about getting those this year, I can get starts from her next spring.

There are plenty of plants I wish I could take but can’t. Many of which, I’ve nurtured from tiny cuttings themselves to the grand specimens they are today. My ‘Limelight’ hydrangea is one in particular, I planted it 10 years ago when it was a mere 4 inch tall stick. I’m also sad to be leaving the boxwood hedge I planted last year. Hopefully whoever ends up gardening here in the future will have always dreamed of a box hedge like I did.

Have you ever moved plants from one home to another?  If you could only take one single plant which would it be? 

12 Comments to “A Different Kind of Packing”
  1. jennifer fisk on August 14, 2012 at 7:03 am

    My Rhubarb is descended from plants my Grandmother had. My parents moved roots to their property and then gave me roots. I’ve shared it with neighbors.
    I have also moved Tiger Lilies from the flood zone of the river that flows by my childhood home to my present property.

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  2. Rhonda on August 14, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I would take the tea rose that has been growing since before I was born. It’s at least 50 years old (I’m 47) It’s still at the house I grew up in. The tea rose has been moved to a few different places in the yard over the years and it still continues to bloom just fine. My sister owns the house right now and has it up for sale. I told her that before the house sells, I’d really like to take a few cuttings to see if I could grow some of my own. She said I could just dig it up and take it but I’m afraid I’d end up killing it.

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  3. Maybelline on August 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm


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  4. Rocky on August 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    We have moved several mop head hydrangeas from MA to ME by digging up each plants. They were my wife’s favorite. They all survived the move and rooted at new location, however, we have not seen them flower ever since we moved to ME. It is just too cold for their flowering buds to survive during cold months here in ME.

    I hope your hydrangeas will fare better than ours. Good luck on your move.

    If I could have taken one single plant from our previous home, it would have to be the Japanese Cherry tree my father planted when our son was born. It was too big of a tree to move with us, and propagating a cherry three by cutting was not an easy feat.

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    • Susy on August 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      If you give them a bit of a blanket of burlap your hydrangeas should start blooming again (here’s how I do it). Thankfully most of my are the varieties that bloom on both old and new wood so they bloom no matter how cold the winter is.

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      • Rocky on August 14, 2012 at 9:57 pm

        Thanks Susy. I have tried the burlap trick several times, but did not help much. We usually do not get much snow accumulation where we live. Very cold winter without snow blanket, and late spring frost seems to do more damage to flower buds than they can recover. I also planted Endless Summer hydrangea you mentioned last year, but none survived over the winter :( I think I am going to plant Hydrangea paniculata or Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ for they are much more cold hardy than Hydrangea macrophylla. But we are going to miss blue, purple, and pink gradation.

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      • Susy on August 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

        Too bad. ‘Limelight’ would also be a good choice as well as ‘Pinky Winky’ – both lovely specimens! ‘Annabelle’ is my favorite – such an easy care beautiful shrub!

        to Susy's comment

  5. whit on August 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    What a chore?! We’ve been doing the same thing from our old to our new. Unfortunately, we couldn’t move our year old Italian Prune tree.

    There were two trees i wish we could have taken. One is a ten year old Paperbark Maple that we planted for my daughter’s “birthday” tree. We planted it when we found out we were pregnant with her. Another tree that i loved in our old property was a Noble Fir. They remind me of a picture perfect tree you’d see in a landscape painting. Especially with snow on them. So tall and slender, branches perfectly spaced.

    Good luck with all your cuttings! How are your seedlings doing?

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  6. KimH on August 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    If I were to move today and could only take one plant, I think I’d take my new Chicago Hardy fig tree… There is also a beautiful rose I got a couple years ago that I think I’d have to dig up too.. and my blueberries… oh boy… yeah, I’d have problems.

    I had Iris here that lived on the side of a hill on some land my grandma & her cousins lived on when they were kids, but it wasnt happy where it was and they didnt come back this year. :( I can still get more, but its kind of a bummer.

    I think some of my peonies came from M’honeys mom who isnt with us any longer. I’d probably dig some of them up too.

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  7. Mrs. H on August 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Susy, how do you take and root cuttings?
    I’ve tried a few methods, and heard of various other methods, but have only ever been able to root a few boxwoods. There are roses and other bushes I’d really like to root if only I could.

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    • Susy on August 15, 2012 at 6:36 am

      I’ll have to do a post on that specifically. I generally follow the same methods for shrubs as I do with perennials. For shrubs the timing is a bit more important.

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  8. melissa on August 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Well, I’ve specifically bought dwarf citrus trees so I can keep them in containers and take them when I move, but as far as actually uprooting or taking cuttings…it’d have to be the rosemary. I planted it about six years ago and the thing is a rather large bush now – it has survived two droughts, two hurricanes and two hard freezes, and a couple of the hottest summers on record in the Houston area. And it just keeps on trucking. It’s definitely coming with me. (thankfully I have it in a whiskey barrel so it should be easy to get out)

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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