Next to a large red flowering camellia, in my front garden, grew a particularly attractive Rhododendron called Silver Edge with variegated leaves. Around these colourful plants grew self-sown marigolds, cosmos, potatoes, strawberries, tomato seedlings and unwanted plants better known as weeds.
I recognised that if these two plants were removed or reduced, the plot of ground was quite large and, being in full sun all day, was very suitable for vegetables. I decided to prune the red camellia drastically and remove the rhododendron. I asked around and was delighted to find a friend who loved it and was happy to become its new owner.
Rhododendrons are easy plants to lift because they don’t have a tap root, just lateral roots holding them tentatively to the soil. I trimmed some of those roots as I pulled the plant from the ground.
My friend took the plant home and pruned the upper branches. In this way, we expect that any trauma from the travel and relocation will be reduced. Currently the rhododendron sits comfortably and looks settled in its new home. Still glorious.
My soil was very good having been fed well over the years. Using a selection of basic Permaculture principles, I covered the space with thicknesses of wet newspaper, followed by layers of sodden cardboard and finally a layer of deep straw mulch. Across the space I laid (dropped – they were so heavy) large rocks to create a pathway so I can access the big golden pumpkins easily at harvest time.
One of the seeds of a Golden pumpkin ,that I had germinated in past weeks, was desperate to be in the ground. With a knife I cut through the cardboard and newspaper and made a hole, into which I deposited the pumpkin plant.
More rain than normal has fallen so I haven’t needed to water. In about a week’s time, when the land is drier, I will add some liquid fertiliser to encourage and support the growth of the pumpkins. I will be adding parsley and wild celery plants along one garden edge. On another edge I will add a selection of colourful chards/silver beets to give a strong green leafy show.
So change is possible. Even when garden beds are well established and when reworking them for alternative uses seems like too much hard work, it can be worth rethinking what is where and whether a different planting regime can be set in place. And you can spread the joy when you give away a plant that you no longer wish to have.