A gardening odyssey


To the Editor:

My friend Judy is having an addition put on, so she offered me a lilac that was in the way. Lilac being one of Phyllis’s favorites, how could I say no?

It took a walk around with Phyllis to choose a sunny location for our new bush, right outside the sun porch where she could see it.

Unfortunately, that space was already taken. I’d put Jerusalem artichokes in three pots and planted them there last fall. Chokes being invasive, I’d dug three holes and planted pot and all, to contain any potential spread.

The choke on the right side of the bed hadn’t done as well as the others (being shaded by a Kousa dogwood), so I had some incentive to relocate that one anyway, though I admit that wasn’t the place where the lilac was to go. It was meant for the center location, where the choke had grown prodigiously (maybe seven feet tall with its daisy-like flowers just having completed their bloom). So I decided I had to move two of the Jerusalem artichokes.

You’d think it would be a simple matter to just pull out the planted pots, and there would be a hole already, waiting for the new lilac. It was rather more difficult to “pull up” 10-gallon pots than I’d hoped. One of the choke plants dislodged from its pot, which yielded some of its crunchy, nutty harvest a little earlier than anticipated.

Nevertheless, the plants were more or less intact, and I found a new home for them against the fence at the rear of our berry patch (never mind that I had to dig large holes for them in that location).

And the hole left by the choke in the center was of course not quite large enough for the lilac, but it did put me well on the way toward getting the lilac in the ground.I should add that once I determined the suitable place, knowing how quickly and large lilacs develop, I realized as well that the small perennial hibiscus recently installed just in front of the lilac’s site, would never work there now. And anyway, I’d put the hibiscus in just behind my Cryptomeria and was not fully pleased with that location visually, either (having enough locations to plant everything that comes my way has been an ongoing concern!), so I decided to remove the hibiscus also. That found a home in a new, mixed bed, near a fragrant viburnum, but in order for everything to have enough room I had to push out the front of that bed, cutting and shaking out my weedy turf, always a pain, and improving the soil of course.

Well, after three hours it got all done, even mulched. And later in the day it rained. Perfect.

Steve Auerbach
Oak Bluffs