Monday, September 03, 2007

The great plant rescue

Ever watch "Miracle of the White Stallions," the 1963 Disney movie about the World War II rescue of the famous Lipizzan horses of Austria? (If not, go do it! Beautiful horses, harrowing history, handsome soldiers -- all without gratuitous foul language or other unsavory junk!) Well, Rick and I have been engaged in the great plant rescue of Eola Hills, summer 2007.

Our friends at the other end of our lane had a new house built this summer. It's located behind their manufactured home, with its extensive mature landscaping. The manufactured home has been sold and will be moved this month, and all that beautiful landscaping was slated to be bulldozed so that area could be planted in cherry trees to go with the orchard that covers most of their five acres. When I asked why they didn't have at least some of the shrubs moved to grace their new yard, my friend said it would cost too much to have it done -- but we were welcome to help ourselves to whatever we wanted.

How could we pass up such an offer -- and let all those beautiful plants be destroyed? We have been pecking away at our landscaping ever since we built our house almost five years ago; it's definitely been a slow work in progress. So Rick traded out vet work for the use of a client's small tractor with front-end loader and backhoe attachment (don't you just love bartering?), and we went to work over a couple Sundays and Labor Day. Since the water supply to the landscaping's sprinkler system was cut back in May during construction, the ground was dry and hard and the plants were more or less drought-stressed. Our main "tool," the little backhoe, was not big enough to just scoop the various shrubs out of the ground, so we had to crudely "claw" them out and hope we didn't damage them too much in the process. By the time we finished yesterday, we had transplanted 25 assorted shrubs and some ground cover; it remains to be seen whether or not they all survive the trauma. (I'm hoping they will all be so grateful to get water on their roots again that they respond with a vigorous will to live!) Following is a pictoral inventory of our hard-earned booty.

Looking west along the north side of our house toward the garden. All the shrubs on the banks to the right and ahead are new, except for the junipers above the boulders.A big purple rhodie we tucked between the spruce and the thyme and lavender on the south side of the house.We added the three shorter, fuller bushes, pieris japonicas with deep burgundy flowers, to the two lilacs in the southeast corner of the yard.The two rhodies on the right joined one Rick planted this spring on the bank at the northeast corner of the deck.Three new evergreen shrubs help hide the concrete foundation until my little vine maples and two clumps of daylilies grow enough to fill in the space better.A huge daphne odora and a burgundy laceleaf Japanese maple got tucked in the shade of the flowering plum in the island bed.
It doesn't really look like that much in a few photos, but believe me -- we moved a LOT of dirt and plant material!

That's it for now at . . .


Tina T-P said...

OMG, what a find! Those are some beautiful plants - How sad that they were just going to bulldoze them! And what a project for you guys! Looks like you did a great job! Speaking as a landscaper's wife, if you keep them watered pretty good for the next couple of months I'll bet they will show their gratitude and root in. (I always forget when it is grey that it might not be raining and sadly my garden drys out) Good luck - how pretty that will be next spring with all those new shrubs T.

P.S. Thanks for "stopping by for tea" today :-)

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Your yard is beautiful, Michelle. I love the little foot path out to the gate.

Congratulations on your windfall of plants.

In addition to the good watering, you could add a few drops of Bach's Rescue Remedy or Five Flower Essence (same thing, different brand) It's a flower essence blend tincture that helps prevent and cure shock. I use it on my plants when I transplant and I've never lost one yet. Just put some drops in your watering can, or add drops to the soil around the roots and then water on top of it.

You can also take a few drops yourself when you are stressed, or use it on your animals during any kind of stress. It can be found at most health food stores I think.

Don't mean to be preachy about that product, but I really have witnessed miracles with it.

May God bless those beautiful plants you rescued. :)

Franna said...

Wow! Amazing what a little work (or a lot of work!) can get you. Water, water, water! ...and water some more. Beautiful anticipation.
Isn't bartering wonderful? Always fun to see what you can give for what you get. ;-)
- Franna

Garrett808 said...

Ok Japanese Maples are my favorite and we can't grow them in Perham :(

Your gardens look very nice and hopefully someday I can come view them all! (and the sheep!)

You look as dry as we do here! We got missed by the floods that were in lower MN.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Well, come on over Garrett -- any of you are welcome to visit! (I know Franna will be the first of you; can't wait! :-) Yes, it is dry around here. We water the animals, garden and new landscaping, but not the lawn or pastures. Our well has great-tasting water -- but only produces about six gallons a minute. Rick has been installing some black plastic tubing with attached bubble or misting heads to water as many plants as possible with as little waste as possible, but I'm still running around a lot with hoses and sprinklers!

Kathy L. said...

Now we know what you've been up to! Oy! Looks like you've been workin' out with the plants. :)

I hope they will all make it. What a wonderful opportunity.

Tammy said...

Wow, Michelle,
What a lot of hard work, but I'm so proud of you guys for wanting to 'save the plants'. There is so much terrible waste in our great land, with people opting to spend more money instead of some elbow grease. Very good job. I hope you get some rain--lots of good slow steady rain to help them recover. We are getting buckets and oodles and gobs of rain here, now! Tammy

melanie said...

What a great yard! Made all the greater by the wonderful scrounging you guys did...I love it when folks can reuse or recycle. You guys must be exhausted...