Constant, unpredictable change is one of the realities of life made evident in a garden. Along with this comes appreciation for the benefits of adaptability and resilience, and the acceptance that we cannot control everything.
This summer brought horrible drought to my region, and personal challenges to my life that necessitated a mid-drought move to suburbia. I had two choices with my garden: abandon it to certain death, or dig it up in the July and August heat, transport it, and see what could survive this sort of disruption. I knew the plants were already stressed due to the growing conditions, so their prospects were not great.
Clematis does not like being transplanted generally. But I unearthed it, noting with dismay the torn roots and broken vines I caused despite my efforts to be gentle. I gave it plenty of compost and water, watched it die back but not quit life entirely, and held out hope.
Likewise, many other annuals and perennials got the chance to experience significant trauma, including a trip in a flatbed down a highway. My cast iron tub planter is a challenge to move even when empty, so I had to move it seperately from the soil that fills it, and my tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sunflowers. I dissassembled it all, put it in the truck, drove it to its new home, and put it all together again. As with the clematis, I observed initial, large-scale die-off of leaves and entire branches. But I held out hope. After many weeks, there are signs that some plants, while they will not recover fully this year, are going to be alright. And other plants, which don’t mind being transplanted as much, are flourishing.
Onward to the next season.