Meghan O'Connell2020/02/19

Transformations Take Time

The evolution of a small urban Somerville garden.
Meghan O'Connell2019/02/02

Working with What you Got

Although installing a garden with brand new plants is a joyful part of my work, I have to admit that I love repurposing plants even more. "Repurposing"-- better known in the gardening world as transplanting -- is simply digging up an existing plant in the garden and putting it in a different part of the garden. Easy peasy, right?

Not so fast... if you're moving little perennials (depending on the species), then transplanting isn't all that difficult. But if you're moving some shrubs (or trees) that have lived in the same spot for years, then get ready to break a sweat, and maybe ask your best friend for a hand. (You might want to bribe them with the promise of good food and drinks after).

Below is a series of photos in which two beautiful Amosonia hubrichtii "Blue Stars" had taken over a small garden, as well as three shrubby Caryopteris. You will see in the first couple photos these lovely soft Amsonias dominate the center of an urban front yard garden. I divided them into three smaller forms, moving two of them to flank the front steps, and the third to the backyard. I then moved a low growing Boxwood to the center, where it had previously been completely hidden behind the Amsonias. The following year, I moved two of the Caryopteris to either side of the Boxwood in order to fill in the gaps and allow these shrubs more room to grow.

Digging up all these shrubs was not an easy task, especially in the heat of a New England summer! As a general rule, it's best to transplant in spring and fall, when the weather is cooler and the rainfall is plenty. Thankfully, the client watered diligently and all the transplants thrived. Check out the transformation below!

And because I just love photos of flowers in full bloom so much... I'm including a few of those from this garden below, as well.