Showing posts with label Plant care. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Plant care. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Moving House With Your Garden Plants Reviewed

I know that within the next few years we will likely move house. We have put a lot into our garden which will be the hardest aspect of our home to leave. 
For our house move we are hoping to find a smaller house and a bigger garden! 

When you move house of course you take all your belongings with you. However, we do not usually take items considered integral to your house such as doors, fitted kitchen and integrated appliances. So when it comes to the garden I have been considering are all the plants also integral to the sale, do we leave everything or are there plants we want to take with us? Is it acceptable to remove plants from the garden and how do we do that? 


We have some very treasured plants with special memories.  
Many of our plants were given to us as gifts or donated by our family in the early days of living here. Others are gifts we have given each other or have particular memories. So we are reluctant to leave these plants. 

However, I do not know what type of garden we will be moving to the aspect, or even exactly the soil type. This does not bother me too much though as I know most will be adaptable or live happily in large pots or containers. So I know that the plants I want to take that thrive here will be perfectly fine in a new home. 

However, if you are moving to an area with a very different soil type and do not want to look after container plants you may need to think carefully about which plants you take with you.


Removing Plants From Your Garden When Selling

 First, though I had to consider the ethical question of is it right to remove loved plants from a garden you are selling?

 Buyers will view our house and garden as it is and understandably expect it to come with all the plants they see upon viewing. 

Someone once told me that to know what you can take and what you can leave you should imagine your garden turned upside down. anything that drops off you can take, otherwise it should stay! So really anything rooted in the ground stays but containers and cuttings and seeds can be removed. 

 My opinion is that it is acceptable to remove plants and take cuttings as long as you are upfront with the buyers about which plants you are totally removing. I think it is unacceptable to buy a house and then find upon arrival that half of the plants you thought you were also buying have been dug out changing the look and feel of the garden.

I have learned that it is important to check as inground plantings are often considered part of the property or a fixture. So 
if you are planning to remove a significant proportion of plantings or obvious plant from your garden it is best to indicate those exclusions in the listing process. If it is decided later than this to remove planting, an amendment should be made with the buyers agreement. It is always best to fully disclose exactly what you are planning to take from the garden. Do always check the law/rules in your country/state exactly the situation when selling. 

Five Options To Move House With Your Garden Plants. 

An increasing number of sellers are taking special plants with them when they move house.

So if you want to take your treasured plants and sell the house and garden honestly, what can we do? Here are five possible solutions. 

 1. Dig Up Plants And Move Into Containers Before Selling. 

 At least a year or so before you plan to move if possible, make a plan to dig up and move any treasured plants you must take with you into pots. Before the sale begins put these pots to one side or outside the garden. Make it clear in the selling instructions or listing that anything in a container is an exclusion, not part of the house sale.

This may work for plants that are not too big. For me, this includes several treasured roses, a small Camellia and a few small evergreens. Small herbs are coming with me, two of our strawberry plants and a couple of our many Heucheras. 

Our garden is so packed full of shrubs, perennials, bulbs and other plants that these will not be noticed from the overall plan. However, you need to plan ahead for this as certain plants can only be moved with the least disruption to the plant at specific times of the year. 

 2. Take Cuttings Of Your Plants And Gather Seeds Before Selling Your Home

 However, some plants are simply too big to move in this way and would leave massive gaps in the garden if I took them with me which would not be fair. For example, our beautiful Camellia and our gorgeous climbing rose.  It would take an enormous effort to dig them up, may, in fact, kill the plant and would leave a gap in planting that would look very wrong in the garden. In addition, they are used every year for birds to nest. I do not want to take this valuable resource away from the wildlife.

 I do not know if the new buyers will want them and I really hope they will keep them. I would be devastated if they felled them, but they are not practical to move. So what I have done is to take cuttings of the camellia and the rose. This way I can take a little of the plant and grow it on to become just as gorgeous as its parent.

No one will notice cuttings taken and it will not change the look of the garden or any current benefit to wildlife. I am also  taking cuttings of our laurels, some of the roses, fuchsias, forsythia, rosemary our large wegelia and bridal bouquet.

 It is important to start this process as soon as you think about moving. For many plants, there is an optimum time to take cuttings. If they do not take one year you will want to have another year to take them so ideally start as early as you know you are moving. 

Taking cuttings will save us a huge amount of money and leave the garden still beautiful for the buyers and available for the wildlife.

3. Negotiate With Buyers About The Plants.

This is an option if you would like to take certain plants with you and have not had time to pot them up before viewings.

When you have a firm offer check with the buyers if they would mind if you took the plant. Some won't mind at all, others may refuse, so this is riskier but still worth asking. 

 Seek advice from your Realtor or Estate agent before taking this course of action. This may need to be negociated and added as an exclusion in the sale agreement.

 4. Ask Buyers If You Can take Unwanted Plants.

 Ask the buyers if they plan to or later decide to get rid of any plants to let you know and you will collect them. It is probably better if the new buyers who are now the homeowners actually dig up the plants and you just collect them otherwise there could be misunderstandings. 

This only works if you remain local and if the buyers actually remember to contact you. I feel this is the least likely strategy to work and could incur issues that may not be worth it.

5. Take Photographs Of Your Garden And Plants

If there are treasured plants that you cannot take with you for whatever reason then take a photograph. We can then carry the memory of the plant with us. 

We can even get the photographs made into posters, greeting cards, or canvas prints such as the one below. 

Tools For Taking Plant Cuttings And Moving Plants

All you need in order to take cuttings is a strong pair of secateurs such as these Wolf ByPass Secateurs.

You will also need some good quality compost for full grown plants and cuttings and however many pots of different sizes you think you will require. 

Labels are also a good idea so you can tell what all the cuttings are.

I like to have a variety of sized pots. I reuse every pot that comes into our garden so none ever go into landfill. 

For the purpose of moving larger treasured plants I have bought a few larger planters in different sizes for the plants I am taking with us. I would recommend ones with handles so that they are easier to move. Once they are served their purpose they will be reused for vegetable growing forever. 

 Advantages To Taking Your Existing Plants

 1. You take treasured plants, especially those with special significance and memories with you. These are valued things you may not be able to bear to leave behind. 

2. You save significant amounts of money on replacing favorite plants. Plants are so expensive now so if you can take cuttings and seeds, especially it will save you a lot of money. 

 3. You have continuity to settle in a new place. Familiar plants may help you to settle more easily.

 4. You can easily stock an empty garden for very little financial outlay. Gardens take time to develop so if you have some plants ready you are ahead. 

 Disadvantages To Taking Your Plants

 1. Your new garden may be very different from your existing one and your plants may not suit or fit the place and the soil type and aspect may be different. For example from heavy clay to chalk. Or South to North facing. 

 2. You may want a totally new start with fresh, maybe very different plants or garden theme. For example a change from cottage garden to modern minimalist. 

 3. You may be moving to a garden that is already well-stocked with plants you love.

 4. You may be moving to a place with a balcony or courtyard your existing plants will not fit into or be happy living there. 

So as an avid gardener who loves her plants I am seeking a happy medium. We are taking some treasured plants and taking cuttings and seeds of others we want. I aim to pot up all those we are taking before the house goes on the market and be upfront with buyers that anything in a container will not be staying.

We have put such a lot into this garden from an empty patch to a vibrant, full and wildlife-friendly paradise. It will be a wrench to leave, but that won't be for quite a while yet and when the time comes I know I will look forward to taking some of the treasured memories with me and creating a new garden.  

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Reviewing How To Put The Garden To Bed For Winter

During late October and early November, I start putting the garden to bed. I like that expression, it makes me feel like I am doing my last caring duties for our garden this year and then the garden and myself can rest in the long cold dark days of winter.

Of course, there will always be jobs to do all year round. I do need to prune the climbing roses and I need to do a little hedge cutting later on, but the bulk of the autumn work in our garden is over and the best thing I can do now is to enjoy the autumn colors of the trees and plants still flowering or bearing berries and then let it rest. 

What Is Putting The Garden To Bed? 

Well for us it is to make sure that the plants in the garden can survive a winter full of winds, gales, heavy rain and snow.

Here are a few key tasks I do in my garden. This is not an exhaustive list and will depend on what sort of garden you have. 

Protect Plants From Wind Damage

I need to make sure that plants are not too damaged by high winds. So for example we have several lovely Buddleia and Lavataria. 

All summer they have given us beautiful flowers and attracted many bees and butterflies. They all grow very tall so are at risk of wind rock and breaking branches. So about October, I reduce their height using loppers by about half. This prevents any issues and still gives a decent size plant at about 4 feet high. In Spring I will prune the Buddleia to about a foot high but this autumn prune is simply to prevent damage.

I repeat this with any other shrubs or plants that may be in danger. For this, depending on the thickness of growth you may use loppers or shears or these Wolf ByPass Secateurs

However, never prune Spring flowering plants now or you will not have any flowers next year. Also, it is too late to prune lavender now as any tender new growth may be frost-damaged.

Care Of The Grass In Winter 

The last cut here will be around the end of October. We tend to leave the grass a little longer over winter but it is a personal thing. We use a manual lawnmower which suits our small lawn and us very well. If you are considering a new lawnmower here is my review of the Benefits And Drawbacks Of A Manual Lawnmower. 

It is useful to do autumn spiking of the lawn with a fork or special tool then brush grit into the holes to help with drainage. If you feel the lawn needs feeding now is the time to give it an autumn feed. 

The other main thing to do is to keep off the grass if you can when it is sodden with rain. Walking on it too much will cause damage. 

Uses Of Autumn Leaves

Gather fallen leaves into a wire netting bin or wooden bin or in bags with holes punched in for drainage, water well and leave to rot down so you can have lovely free leaf mold this time next year! 

Add a layer of mulch to your borders. A thick layer of leaves or compost will enrich the soil and make it a great habitat for worms and other beneficial insects that love to live in the soil.

Here Are More Details On The Joys And Uses Of Autumn Leaves 

Make A Wildlife Habitat This Autumn

One of the best things we can do this Autumn/Fall is to make more habitat for wildlife in our gardens. Anything we need to cut down do not throw away but make into a big pile in a quiet corner of the garden. I aim for as little as possible to leave the garden, rather to recycle it within the garden.

This pile of logs, leaves, sticks will make a great winter retreat for insects, spiders, hedgehogs and all manner of overwintering creatures.

In turn, they will make your garden a healthier more balanced place for predators and prey and nature to work is magic.  

Fleecing Tender Plants In Autumn

One of the main tasks we do is to buy a great roll of fleece and proceed to wrap up all the tender of more delicate plants. We do not have a large greenhouse so they all have to stay outdoors and most would not survive a winter left to fend for themselves.

If you do have a greenhouse then it is easy to just move all your tender plants in for the winter. 

However, I have found that a thick protective covering of fleece works really well. All I need to do then is to brush any snow off it. 

So each plant and most of these tender plants are in pots receives a cosy wrapping of fleece all the way around the pot base and the foliage. I leave the top open for if its a nice day but with enough material so I can close it right over if the weather is brutal. 

For many of the plants, I am most worried about the roots. If the foliage dies down or gets wind burnt it will usually grow back if the roots are strong. 

However, if the roots become frost-bound or starved of oxygen the plant will die. So especially for plants in pots, it is vital to protect the roots if nothing else. 

Ideally and especially for terracotta pots, you would first wrap the pot in bubble wrap or hessian then wrap the fleece over it and the foliage. If you do not have bubble wrap then use fleece over all of it.

For plants that really do not like our winters such as our beautiful Bottle Brush Plant I fleece them and also bring them into our sheltered porch.

Do buy the thicker fleece if you can. I have tried different fleeces and the thinner ones tear too easily and I usually have to double wrap the plant to feel it is protected.

With the thicker fleece, although slightly more expensive you only need to single wrap and so far I have not had any trouble with tearing. 


Move Tender Plants to A Sheltered Spot 

After all the tender pants are fleeced up I move them to their winter homes.

This is a place where they are kept as safe from high winds and cold as possible so against a house wall is good. Our Tree Peony in particular hates strong winds.  I group them together so that they get shelter from each other. 

As I do this before Halloween it has to be said that when all wrapped up our plants do look somewhat like cute little ghosts especially after dark and particularly when my husband decides to elaborate by putting black netting, lights or eyes and ghostly additions !!! The neighbourhood children do love it though! 

Care of Herbaceous Perennials 

For herbaceous perennials, the best thing you can do in autumn is nothing at all!

It used to be the time to tidy up all the herbaceous perennials, cutting them down and generally tidying them up.

 However, we now know that many insects use these plants to overwinter in their stems and foliage. For them, our untidy garden is a warm safe home. In order for nature to survive and thrive there is a worry that Are We Too Tidy In Our Gardens?

So for the good of nature and to relieve us of a task, we now need to do nothing. When new growth starts in the spring and the insects are no longer needing their warm homes and shelter and protection we can then cut back the old growth.   

Protection of Tender And New Cuttings Over Winter

Any tender and new cuttings I took are in small pots and I move all these into our little greenhouse on the patio for winter. It has a cover I can take off if the weather is reasonable and put down when it is cold or particularly windy. 

It is not heated and does not need to be, it just keeps the worst of the weather off the new cuttings and keeps them mostly free from frost. If I did not have this I would use a cold frame or even cover them all with fleece.

General Care Of The Garden In Winter

So when we have completed all these tasks it is so lovely to know that all our precious plants are warm and cosy and ready to rest through the winter.

I will of course need to periodically check them over to see that they are doing well. On sunny days I will uncover some of the less tender ones so they get some sunshine and remain hardy.

If it snows heavily I will brush off the worst from the plants. Other than that I do not need to concern myself with them. 

Then all we gardeners need to do is to sit down with a lovely mug of whatever you like, put your feet up, enjoy the beautiful autumn sights in the garden. Perhaps take a moment to drink in the beauty of your own autumn garden, window box, or patio and in nature and start dreaming of and planning for spring!

Take The Time to Stop Look and Listen In Your Garden

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