Odd season to be doing that!

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We were thrilled to be able to plant leftover bulbs one balmy 40-degree day in late December. This January beat that with more than a week of 40's. Snow, what snow? We're having fun, making memories, saving bulbs! 

"How 'bout this weather?!"

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Some people mean this as a rhetorical question.

However, when the winter weather is truly odd, as it has been this very warm week when we're writing, that casual comment nets these answers:

Isn't it?! D. transplanted a lilac yesterday because, why not?!


Well, yeah! And I barbequed last night, too!


You bet. We're on our way out to rake leaves from a callery pear that we couldn't get to in fall! Going to be 'way ahead in spring, maybe!


It's amazing. We were able to go out and get all the night lighting fixtures checked, bulbs replaced... if this holds we're going back to ream out the connections, too!


I love it. Hey: My sister can use all this mulch we have left over. If I can use your pick-up, we can take it over and spread it there...


 We agreed... and moved a Magnolia

 MagnoStelBlm4499.jpg The star magnolia (M. stellata) is better equipped to handle cold than most of its bigger cousins. It's hardy to zone 4 winters and is less susceptible to spring frost damage, which often blight those other magnolias' blooms.

MagnolMov0880.jpgStill, it's a tree that does bloom quite early in the year, when a frost could ruin its show. We'd decided to move this tree (right) from a spot it was destined to outgrow, into a roomier place that would also give it a good hedge against frost damage -- bigger trees between it and the cold northwest  spring wind.

One snowy, windy day in very late fall, we did it. It was not an ideal time. Many authorities warn against moving plants in late fall, or when leaves are still falling. Some specifically list Magnolia as one that is better moved in spring and which has a very sensitive "do not disturb" root system.

We figured, "What they hey! It can't stay where it is, and here we are with the time to do it!"

That was years ago. It made the move. But even if it hadn't, look what we would have missed: See that beautiful root system? (Below.) What a joy to peel the soil away to find such a lively growth. We love to see a plant take such a great root system with it. (This is pretty dense, as Magnolia roots go. Some tree species' have far more fine roots.)

If we'd played by the rules, we wouldn't have seen it. We wouldn't have learned from the experience how far such a tree's roots can spread in just two years.  We saw how big the zone is where we should "take care around  the magnolia's fleshy, easily broken and bruised" roots.


We do act contrary to advice sometimes, but we watch and learn from the plants themselves, and become better gardeners.

It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.  - P.D. James -


Moving this tree and many other episodes on this website happened at the sessions called Garden By Janet & Steven. Sponsor Kerry Holley says of these sessions:






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