Move it ….. or lose it!

For those of you who have been following my blog since the beginning, this entry focuses on just two of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a new gardener…

  1. If you don’t like where something is, then just move it!
  2. If you don’t like something, then lose it!

I’d like to say that I came to these conclusions/revelations easily but for the most part, there was a lot of sentimentality and stubbornness that I had to work through in making some of the decisions along the way.


These carex were some of the first plants I moved. There were 5 relocated to my giant hell strip. Still not sure if it was the best idea but they are all still alive after 3 years. 

When faced with a massive project like I was, I felt it was smart utilizing as many existing plants and shrubs to save money. But, for those who really know me, it’s because I’m impatient and it was nice to have full grown specimens filling up empty spaces!  Below is just a few days ago and they are all still going strong. I’ve even moved one BACK to the backyard to help provide some support to an overgrown and flopping kniphofia.

One of the day lilies made the journey to the hell strip and performed very well. But, of over the past few years, I’ve come to really hate Hemerocallis Stella de Oro and the one on this hell strip was the first to go when I “moved” my Caesalpinia. There are 4 more that are on the chopping block for my fall garden “reboot”! If anyone wants them, let me know!


Here’s where sentiment became an issue

I got one of those Facebook reminders the other day celebrating a 1 year ago memory. It was a post I had made of this next picture…


“After coming to the realization that this hydrangea was NOT the reincarnation of my dead mother, it was time for it to go!” 

The sentiment was very real to me. When I found this house, the big magnolia grandiflora in the front, the azalea and rhodies all around the property and especially the goddam big blue hydrangea in the back yard, all reminded me of the home where I grew up. They spoke to me and the thought of removing one of them, especially the hydrangea, was just too much for me to deal with the first couple of years.


The two azaleas/rhodies were relocated to the front yard but they fell victim to the blight of 2105 and I lost them. Oh well, more room for new stuff! 

In preparation for the loss of the hydrangea, Xera came to the rescue. They had CRAPE MYRTLES!!!!!! If there was anything more reminiscent of my childhood home than a hydrangea, it was a crape myrtle! We had no less than three of them wisely (lol) planted next to our driveway so we were constantly picking/brushing flowers off our cars. You really don’t appreciate how beautiful they are when you are surrounded by them all the time…


This is one of three that I have blooming in August of last year. It’s JUST beginning to bloom now! 

Okay, so here’s one more lesson…

  • In situations where sentimentality plays a factor, replace it immediately with something else! AKA – denial. LOL

So here is a situation where “losing it” was a necessity. There is a high probability that I “did not read the tag” on this one but it’s also possible I bought this at Hortlandia and there wasn’t a complete tag available. But, as you can see, this guy (I still don’t know exactly what it was) got HUGE! While I loved it for it’s vibrant color, long lasting blooms and the fact that it played a big part in my “purple, green and gold” spring, I think it was going to turn into a tree! So it had to go – to make way for my “shade garden”.


For those of you who know my garden, this is closest thing I have to any sort of shade. One plant gave it’s life for many…

In the next photo you will find an example of a move it AND a lose it combined. The first year, I decided to relocate this rhodie to the back yard. It was so poorly placed that it obstructed the walkway to the backyard. As you can see in the adjacent picture, it provided much needed nice immediate evergreen structure to the backyard. Unfortunately, it was not a healthy specimen and, again, was something that I just didn’t see as part of the long term plan for my garden. Besides, I needed a home for the awesome feijoa sellowiana that the BF bought me!

Speaking of the BF…there is nothing like testing the strength of a relationship (and of your boyfriend, lol) than enlisting him to help with bamboo removal! Of all the poorly chosen and placed plants for this house, this bamboo ranks up with the worst! I’m assuming they did it for some privacy since it was placed so that it kind of blocked the large living room window.


This give you a really good idea of what we were working with…it was small clump…how hard could it be? 

Well, several hours later, one snapped in half shovel, countless profanities and several IOU’s to the BF for payback (his future painted Shedtaeaux and patio were my penance) and the bamboo was gone.


A job well done! If you look to the left down the slope, you can see the tiny plant that turned into the giant shrub/tree in a year!


Who doesn’t love a before and after? 

Remember when I mentioned stubbornness? Well, the plum trees in my back yard are a perfect example. For those of you who have ever moved into a new home with a fruit tree, you might understand. The first year it’s all “oh, I’ll make cobblers and pies and we’ll have fresh plums all summer!” Well, that exactly what I did the first few months of summer and it was awesome. Then reality set it. You can’t possibly use all the fruit. Plus, stone fruit is disgusting when it drops and gets hot. Plus, one was not healthy as it seemed to be competing with the other one since they were planted just a few feet from each other.  So, the next year, I figured I’d at least get rid of the sickly one and keep the good one because I had no other shade in the back yard. Plus, I was till going to make cobblers and pies, right?

Well, I don’t exactly remember the time sequence but with a lot of hazing/nagging from the BF, I finally gave in and took the second one out and I haven’t looked back since! Look at all that beautiful space!


Still evolving but I’d say the plum trees gave their lives for the greater good! 

I can easily say the toughest “lose it” moment for me were the variegated willows in my front right bed. This was because they were a combination of sentiment AND stubbornness! They were part of my original plantings and one of my first “groups of three”.

Over the years, they were a constant, reliable “fixture” that I felt provided a great backdrop to the rest of my garden as it evolved. I loved the variegation, how they seemed to match perfectly with the house, the billowy branches and how quickly they grew no matter how much I hacked them every year.

But, this past February, it was time to bite the bullet and let go. Funny, while I was ready for them to go, they were not. That was seriously one of the worst days of my life. I thought removing bamboo out of dry clay was bad. This was February when everything was still nice and soaked and soft and these bad boys did not want to go! And to make matters worse, I finally decided to take out the last of the cotoneasters!


This was a baby. The two I took out this day were 3 times the size. It took months to finally dispose of everything from that day! 

I can honestly say that I despise this shrub. The only reason these ones stayed for so long is that I was scared of what was living under them!


I really should have done this a long time ago. This bed is gorgeous. To the right of the bed is where the cotoneaster was. That’s how much space they took up! I had a LOT of plants to buy this year! 

I’m throwing in another lesson…

  • sometimes it’s worth it to hire someone to do your dirty work! I was smart enough with the plum tree but I thought I could handle this one on my own. I think my back went out a couple of days later!

Remember what I said about how to deal with sentimentality? Denial and replacement! I’m blanking on the name of the tree! 


You know you’re dating a gardener when you get plants for Valentines Day! Swoon! 

I won’t say that the BF hated those willow, well, yes, he pretty much hated them. But, as I’ve shared, they meant something to me so I put up a fight for some time. He was very thoughtful and this beautiful Hamamelis helped soften the blow!


Farmington Gardens made everything better! I even picked up a couple of camellias to help with the southern theme! I’m working on winter and year round interest – no judging! 


The same bed this morning….feeling pretty good about the decision. Not bad since February! That hibiscus Midnight Marvel is EVERYTHING!

One of the unexpected benefits of working on this blog is that I get an opportunity to stroll though memory lane every time I sit down to write. I’m so thankful that I was a crazy picture taker over the years and have such wonderful documentation of the evolution of my garden. I’ve learned so much over the years and when I think about these lessons in this blog, I realize that I’ll never stop using them. How I implement those lessons will evolve just the way my garden does!




4 thoughts on “Move it ….. or lose it!

  1. Great Post!

    The evolution of your garden, your idea of what makes a garden, and the plants you thought you loved getting replaced by plants you now love more, has been fun to see.

    The “car tree” is a Redbud (Cercis), but I think we got duped on the variety.

    That Hydrangea was fugly… Got’s 2 go!

    And your grass in the back looks so green and lush!


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