Now, where to put all the new plants

Garden Gnome
A fig tree (counterclockwise from bottom right), Tango weigela, tea olive and Diablo ninebark came from a recent plant sale.

At the moment, I am surrounded by stacks of notes and photocopies, CDs and, honest to goodness, even a VCR tape -- all of which demand my attention. But hey, this is the garden page time. The hard stuff can wait.


McCorkle Nursery's giant plant sale was fabulous, and judging from the crowd Thursday morning, it should also have been terrific for the nursery.

Of course, I suffered the normal temporary insanity the event brings out in me and came home with a ton of plants that are now impatiently waiting to be inserted into the landscape. But with this heat, they are going to have to wait.

I've since been spending time with the garden books, something I should have done before going to the sale. But part of the fun of the McCorkle sale is finding new plants.

For example, I can home with a Diablo Ninebark. It's a beautiful plant that -- according to the fellow at the sale who was also admiring the plant -- will become deeply red, and produce pink flowers in the spring and red berries in the fall. I didn't know it then, but it's also zoned 3-7, which means I'm probably pushing it. I'll super-mulch in the winter and hope for the best. This baby gets 8-10 feet high, which is perfect screening for the new shade bed area that is currently not so shady with the demise of the neighbor's giant oak.

I wasn't totally without a plan last weekend. I needed hydrangeas and scored big. I was also looking for a tree or two to replace the giant oak and came home with a tea olive and a fig.

I also decided to stop resisting the Tango weigela that I have wanted for the past couple of years. I think if it is planted with the java red weigela, which has bright green leaves, the dark leaves of the tango will look great. I just haven't decided on exactly where they will live.

Plotting how and where to plant the new additions is why I've been pouring over the garden books. The best advice seems to be that you can plant this time of year, but wait for a cloudy day and preferably a day when rain is near, like that's going to happen any time soon.

Meanwhile, I'm playing with the placement, thinking about the full-grown sizes and each plant's need for light. I don't want to have to dig them up in a couple of years, as I will have to do to a Japanese maple this fall. It's going to get way too big for its current location.

Maybe I'll have it figured out by fall. That's when I intend to move a crape myrtle and chaste tree that are now in the shade. They will have great sun in the spot where the hated sweetgum currently lives -- for a little while longer.