Advice for moving.

docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)November 13, 2011

I'm buying and moving into a new house in the next two to three weeks, if everything continues to work out. I'm wondering if anyone has transplanted foxglove, hollyhocks, New England Aster, columbine, Jacobs Ladder, etc., at this time of year--or any other time of year--and if they were successful. I haven't sold my current house, and may end up renting it. So, it's possible I could come back in the spring to move things. But, if I need to move them now, will they survive?


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Martha, the soil here is still warm--I planted a 'Helen von Stein' lamb's ear about a half hour ago. This time of year the plants don't have to cope with extreme heat or intense sun so it's actually a good time of year to plant. I planted a bunch of WS perennials just a few days before the storm hit and they're all doing fine. I planted Jacob's Ladder about three weeks back and those are doing great too.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 1:34PM
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bev2009(6 IN)

Martha, take as much dirt with them as you can. Before we built our new home, I dug up about eighty plants in the fall, kept them in pots or plastic grocery bags (with a drainage hole poked through) on my patio all huddled together for the winter and finally planted in the new home in June of the next year. We get enough moisture through the winter so they didn't dry out. And I can't remember if we had an unusually warm winter that they didn't freeze. I even found one hosta still in the plastic bag under the neighbors bush a year later and planted it. The key is to take as much soil as you can so as not to disturb the roots. If you do it now and are able to plant right away, I see no problem. If you don't have their permanent home ready at the new home, just sink the pots in the ground and they'll be ready to pull up next spring and move. (Your winters are a little colder than mine.)

It was so nice to plant them all out, instant garden in a barren lot.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 3:24PM
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Autumn is a fine time for transplanting, the cooler weather does not stimulate top growth and the plants will go into dormancy almost immediately, They still need a good deep drink at transplant but don't give any food until next spring when they start to sprout. Good luck with the move!


    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 5:34PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Thanks for the replies. I feel much better. Now I just need to start digging. Should have possession Friday!


    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 8:24PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

That's great, Martha. Wishing you the best with the new marriage, new house, and new garden.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 7:12AM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

One thing to look at before you decide whether to plant now or put the pots in a holding bed is how good is the soil already in your new beds. It is so much easier to amend the bed while it is empty than to try and dig around the plants you put in the season before. (Can you hear the voice of experience with doing it the "more work way"?) Of course, if you have the energy to do a bed improvement job this fall before you plant, more power to planting now.

Another question is whether you remember what plants may already be in the ground at the new house. You don't want to unknowingly destroy a pretty spring or summer surprise. How blank is your canvas at the new house?

Maybe you could plant a few things in a spot that would not be overwhelming to improve and then hold the rest of the pots for the spring. That way you can put your mark on the new place and be assured of some blooms for the spring.

The potential of a new house and a new garden (not to mention the marriage) is so exciting. I envy you a little and wish uou the best.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 9:59AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I feel extraordinarily lucky to be getting a new start. The house has a large yard ( 2 acres) that is primarily wooded. There are some slightly neglected planted beds on the east and west sides of the house that contain lilies of the valley, vinca minor, and a few English Ivy vines. The front of the house has newer, more formal plantings along the front walk. I'll probably rip out the small shrubs in front and use that area as a holding bed for my transplants while I wait to see what the seasons reveal around the rest of the property. There is one sunny strip of lawn along the road that faces south. My goal is to convert that area into my butterfly garden. I'll try to throw down cardboard and fallen leaves ASAP for a quick lasagna garden. That is where I'm hoping to put things from the current house/garden. At the back of the property, outside the fenced portion, the land slopes steeply down through more overgrown woodlands to a sizable stream. Yeah! It'll be fun to see what is growing there in the spring and what I can add.

And I haven't even mentioned the house! Don't let me go on. I'm so excited!

Thanks for letting me share.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 7:48PM
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Go on bride to be, we want to hear about the house too! Of course we all realize it is just an 'accessory" for the garden!

Wishing you a beautiful wedding and a fabulous life together...

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 9:05AM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

Tell us and wedding included.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 4:39PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

OK. The house is set quite far back from a somewhat busy, two-lane road. It's all brick with a deep/tall roof with dormers that look out from the upstairs, tongue-in-groove pine paneled family room and bedroom. The whole place is big, with sprawling rooms and wide stairways and even tall ceilings in the basement. This is important, since I'm the shortest person in the family at 5'10". My brother is 6'10", fiance 6'3", his daughters are 6'1", sons are 6'4"-ish. The entire downstairs is original wood floors with radiant heat installed in 1946! How cool is that! The master bedroom is on the main floor and has a door out to the three-season porch. The porch has windows on three sides, of course, and sliders on two sides for access to the fenced in back yard and the cement patio that stretches the length of the house. Can you say "mud-free dog run"? I have a black, retriever mix and a full blooded Newfoundland who likes to dig. When she comes in from digging, her flews (lips) are full of hidden mud that only reveals itself when she transfers it to your clothes. (Newfs have only survived as a breed by having an absolutely irresistible personality.)

Back to the house. The most recent owners apparently liked to cook, because they installed a gourmet kitchen with an 8-ft chopping block, separate vegetable sink, 5-burner stovetop, separate double ovens, and a wine refrigerator/cooler. There are 3 1/2 baths and a huge laundry room in the basement with, probably a 12 ft set of cupboards and countertop (left over from the old kitchen?) perfect for storage and folding.

The water/sewer is hooked up to the city, but there is still a functioning well that the outside faucets are attached to, so I can water plants without having to pay city water prices.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I was NOT in the market for a house, but this was a dream come true. I wish I could invite you all over for a party. And we will be entertaining--on a very casual level. I'm a hospice physician, and "my" nurses and aides are literally angels who work their precious wings to the bone for their patients. So, I like to throw gatherings to show my appreciation for all they do. And now I have the space to do it right!

Gotta get to a staff meeting. Hope you can enjoy the process with me. I'll try to figure out posting pictures. I know it's not difficult, I just have to take the time to find the camera, take the pictures, transfer to the comp., etc.

Have a great day!


    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 7:02AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Congrats on your new house and STBH, Docmom! It sounds like a fabulous house and the property even better. Your dogs sound cute too. I am very jealous that you have woodlands and a stream. Ahhh, my next property is going to have wetlands one way or the other. I LOVE them, they attract so much wildlife.

I think that transplanting this time of year would be fine. Plants are best transplanted when they are dormant anyway. I would protect the pots very well over the winter. A sheltered spot, not much sun (to avoid temperature fluctuations), and mulched well.

I've been transplanting shrubs and small trees like crazy the past week!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:03PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Closing has been accomplished and we have christened the house with a bottle of wine, etc. Tomorrow morning we'll take the dogs over and see if they like it. The squirrels, who were happily munching the acorns, will have a rude awakening to their new reality.

It's funny. We're moving closer to town, but have a more secluded setting. I did notice that you can see the traffic moving on the express way through the trees, now that the leaves are down. But, it's still more private than the small cul de sac we're leaving behind.

Next challenge-- get the 1.5 acres of oak leaves off the lawn. LOL. Haven't decided if we'll buy a blower, rent one, or borrow one from my brother for the weekend. I own a stationary leaf mulcher, but it's still at the old house, weighs a ton, and hasn't been started in about three years. We'll see what the weekend brings.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:14PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Congratulations, Martha, on finalizing your new home purchase. I am delighted to hear details about the home and yard and to share your joy.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 10:14PM
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