Mr. Fix-it was kind enough (he always is) to help me dig these out. Actually, digging wasn't cutting the dirt. No pun intended. Nope, we had to pull out the ratchet straps and pull the yews out with the truck. The ratchet straps were also no competition for the yews as one was snapped. Urrr! Next, out came the heavy duty chain. That did the trick. Both of these yews were yanked-yup-yanked out. You can just barely see the damage to the base of the trunk on the yew pictured above.
The second yew fared a bit better since it was smaller. Both suffered in the move and have been in my garden for about four months now. They finally have died. I just took them to the dump recently. How sad. No success here and I learned you cannot successfully yank old yews out of the ground. Maybe digging gently would work, but somehow I doubt it.
Anyone who reads this blog or who knows me, knows I like hydrangeas. They are my favorite genus of shrubs, with the oakleaf being my very favorite shrub. A close third would be the mopheads. The mopheads remind me of Maine and my mother and I love them very much. If they weren't so persnickety I might like them best, but that is not to be.
I was not the first person who responded to Cindy's ad. Some other lucky gardener or two beat me to it. I was heartbroken when I saw her ad saying the 'snowball bushes' were taken.
I did not entirely give up though. On a whim I decided to email Cindy and see if the snowball bushes had indeed been taken. She responded NO! The man and woman who had attempted to dislodge the hydrangeas from their comfortable spot spent four hours trying to dig them out with no success. Actually, there were a few casualties in the process. They broke three shovels. That was pretty funny to Cindy. Oops, doesn't look too good for me. Cindy said I was welcomed to give it a shot but to be prepared and bring a few shovels. The hydrangea pictured above is the result of the other two folks attempting to dig it out.
I thought to myself, this did not sound like typical hydrangeas. The hydrangeas I know are generally shallow rooted and fairly easy to dislodge. In Mr. Fix-it's truck down the road I went, hi ho, hi ho, hi ho! Here I come Mr. and Mrs. Hydrangea to save you!
Honestly, I really did try to explain to the shrubs it was in their best interest to come along nicely. Mr. Fix-it's truck was never going to fit in the backyard to pull them out the hard way like the yews had to suffer through. Nope, a shovel and hand held pruners was all I had at my will.
The first hydrangea was about 75% dug out, thanks to the previous attempt to remove it. I could not figure out what was holding it in the ground. I gently dug down (barehanded of course) and felt around for the roots. Upon finding them, I cut them with my handheld pruners (love those things!), dug a bit more, cut a bit more, pushed the hydrangea around a bit, and success! It took me about one hour to dislodge this hydrangea. Cindy was truly impressed. I was puffing with pride. That hydrangea is pictured above still in Cindy's garden. It is pruned back hard and missing some leaves due to the previous trauma. Now on to the other hydrangea.
This one seemed like it would be harder since I was starting from square one and since it was intertwined with some 'Jane' magnolia tree roots. But really, once it saw its buddy gave up the fight, it must have felt it was in its best interest to also let go. Some gentle digging-note I said GENTLE-do NOT break shovels digging plants out because if you do, you are doing it wrong. A bit of pruning and the second hydrangea was soon to join its buddy in the back of Mr. Fix-it's truck. It took me a total of two hours to get them both out.
Planting was going to be much easier, I just knew it and that kept me motivated. Plus, no way were these guys going to defeat me. By the way, these hydrangeas were dug from a home in Chandler, Indiana and were transported all the way to Tennessee on a hot sunny day in the back of a truck. Not ideal, but necessary. Once home, I soaked them in BJ's swimming pool, dug their holes and planted them with lots of yummy compost and moist soil. I have babied them for several months now and they are hanging in there. I was also able to separate the hydrangeas into a total of five fairly large hydrangeas. Did anyone know you can split hydrangeas? I didn't. The hydrangea that was already partially dug is pictured above. It is actually doing worse than the other hydrangeas, BUT! Do you see that one little branch with some green leaves? It lives still. One of the other hydrangeas actually has new growth on it. The real test of saving these lives will not be finished until next spring. At that time if they show new growth, then success. If not, that is fine too. At least I tried, just like with the yews. Something tells me though, that no matter my failures, I will continue to transplant big plants and take my chances. That is how life is sometimes.
I am thrilled with the new mopheads I received from Cindy's beautiful yard. There was color everywhere in her yard, and I am so surprised she let them go. Thanks Cindy! And you can be sure I will do my best to save their lives and ensure they live a happy, long and healthy life....
in the garden....