Monday, November 26, 2007

Breaking Rules

The problem with gardening books is that they tell me things I don't want to know. Things like "False Indigo (baptisia australis) doesn't like to be moved." Well, the problem is that I planted some last year, and as often happens, I don't like the location now.

I looked at some other books. Maybe this was just one writer's opinion. Nope.

"Baptisia puts down a long tap root and should not be moved."

"Baptisia is notoriously sensitive to being moved."

Ok. define "should" and "notoriously sensitive." Is it going to die if I move it, or what? I need to know the consequences to make an informed decision.

Maybe all these writers just have finicky plants. Maybe my baptisia are adventurous and would actually like a change of scenery.

We'll see. I gave the matter serious consideration for about 30 seconds, then dug them up and moved them to their new home. Call me a rebel.

As I was leafing through the gardening books looking for a baptisia loophole, I came upon this gem concerning irises:

"Late autumn planting is not advisable because the plants won't have a chance to send down anchor roots." Great. Irises were the next thing I wanted to move. (I moved some last January and they did fine, so I went ahead with these.)

Check back in the spring and I'll let you know what happened.


Mary said...

I'm laughing out loud! No, you do not have any control over your garden :o)

Mary said...

Ooops. My previous comment was for the Crybabies.

Be a rebel, move whatever you want, whenever you want. I think those professional writers/gardeners are too finicky anyhow.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Yep, I move em when I want to and haven't had bad luck. I have also read that they were finiky.

Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

A "rule" I've successfully ignored: expiration dates for old seed packets. When I come across a stash that's a few years old, and has been in the uninsulated and unheated garage the whole time, I figure what the heck and throw them on the ground anyway. I might deign to rake some dirt over them. Whatever, they're a lost cause, anyway, right? Then I get surprised by what comes up despite my procrastination and negligence.

Oh yeah, and I'm ignoring instructions on planting depth and spacing and such while I'm at it, so that's at least two rules I'm "breaking" ...

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Teehee. :) I've thumbed my nose (SEVERAL TIMES) at the conventional wisdom of hellebores not liking to be moved, either. In fact, I moved one during our drought in June (yeah, I KNOW) and it's been doing just fine.

Colleen said...

You sound like me! Especially the part about looking for loopholes. I never manage to find any, but I end up moving stuff around anyway. I figure that the few plants I lost just weren't tough enough for my garden. I don't have time to coddle perennials :-)

Carol said...

Rebel gardener! I hope the plants aren't reading those books, too. It would give them all kinds of ideas about acting all finicky and particular about things and starting to expect special treatment. Plants WANT to survive, they'll make it.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Iris said...

Your rebellious ways are encouraging. Of course, I just transplanted a bunch of irises that I dug up from a friend's garden, so I could be looking for justification!

As a newish gardener, I find that gardening tips are geared more to folks who live in the full four seasons. Things (garden-wise) I wouldn't have considered doing in the mother countries (New York and Wisconsin) are much more doable here, where the ground doesn't freeze solid for months on end.

lisa said...

Ha! That's right, bend them to YOUR will! I agree with Carol, the plants didn't read those books, so what the heck. I'm with Xris too, sow all seeds, new or old. Sometimes I'll soak them overnight if they're really old for a "jump start" (or something). A rebel gardener fears no failure! (Or sucess ;-)

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Oh, I do, Mary. My plants could qualify for a free plane ticket without ever leaving the yard.

I'm glad to hear that, Lisa. I have confidence in them!

Xris, I've pretty much given up on the spacing guidelines too.

Blackswamp Girl, I haven't heard that about hellebores...and to think of all the hellebores I've dug up and moved from the Hellebore Queen's garden...

I'm with you on that, Colleen. If it dies, then it's not LMAID garden material!

I agree, Carol. Plants are generally pretty tough. And I keep the books inside.

That's why I like living here, Iris. You can do something any month of the year. Last winter I was still planting stuff in January (including Irises) and they all did well.

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Right, Lisa-what's the worst thing that could happen? (I like the photo of your cat, btw!)

Ewa said...

some rules are to be ignored :) my experience tells me, that I move plants until 20th of November - especially if they are perennials, but shrubs as well. I plant bulbs even in December and even if there is -30 centigrade, they are ok next spring.
I didn't try expired seeds yet - but guess what I will do coming spring?
I have plenty of them, cos when I started gardening 3 years ago, I had no imagination what ground you need to use one full pack of seeds :)

Benjamin Vogt said...

Well, I live in NE and planted a Baptisia in September or October, so hope it sticks. I heard they hate to be moved, too. I'll be interested to see what yours does, and mine.

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Hi Ewa, -30 degrees Centigrade??? You are much tougher than me!

Good luck with the Baptisia, Benjamin. We'll compare notes in May.

tina said...

I bet those plants will be fine! Iris is no problem. Not sure about the baptisia. Gardening books say not to move candytuft too, but not only did I successfully move it, I divided it too! The same for babys breath. Can't wait to find out the outcome come spring!