The Cottage Smallholder

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The shrub that slept all summer

new leavesIf you plant a shrub that has been grafted onto root stock too deeply in the soil, the root stock can take over.

This happened to my pretty viburnum. It fought back and was eventually dwarfed by a tall ugly shrubby tree.
“We have to remove this and start again!”
“But it has formed a perfect arch with the viburnum on the other side of the path. It doesn’t look ugly to me.”

Danny did have a point so I kept the louche shrub for a couple of years and finally asked John to remove it and replace it with a pretty variegated philadelphus that was growing too near a yew hedge and needed to be rescued.

John looked dubious.
“You’ll have to water it regularly Fiona. And you might forget.”
“I’ll water it, I promise.”
“It’s over six feet tall it’s too big to shift.”

He moved the shrub and left a bucket of water beside it as a reminder.

I did water it. Although it was the wettest summer for years. The shrub never flourished. Eventually the leaves crinkled and died. The move had clearly been too much for it.

John never mentioned the disaster and I noticed that the bucket was silently moved to another part of the garden.

Meanwhile, remembering Moses I watered the lifeless thing from time to time.

This morning I was thinking that it was such a shame that it had died when I noticed that teeny leaves were opening on the branches. The shrub was alive.

Today Clare suggested what might have happened. The shock of the move had thrown it into a dormant state. It lost all its leaves and had slept for the summer.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amanda

    A lot of my garden takes care of itself and that’s when the most interesting things happen.

    I’m a lot more patient than I used to be garden wise. I still find it difficult though!

  2. As Celia said – Patience is the secret of a good gardener. I so wish I had that patience.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat

    Yes so am I. I’m going to give it a good feed and mulch.

  4. Glad it is recovering!!!

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Magic Cochin

    Patience is good when it comes to gardening. But I find this hard.

    I was so lucky with this shrub!

    Hi Kate(uk)

    On Sunday this shrub will be fed and mulched and named. We are already arguing about this!

    Thanks for the tips.

  6. Kate(uk)

    Shrubs do seem to like it wet, I’ve got some dogwoods I planted three summers ago that just about staggered through the two hot summers, then, finally, last year got them going so they might just look how they should this year, especially if it continues like today i.e. WET.
    If you think a shrub has died, just gently scrape away with your thumb nail a little of the top layer of barky skin on a twiggy bit- if it is slighly moist underneath and greenish your shrub is alive, if the twiggy bits are crispy and hollow in the middle and you can snap them off, prune away all the crispy dead stuff, do the same check lower down the shrub, if it has signs of life and dormant buds feed and mulch it and it will recover! Bear in mind some shrubs are quite short-lived, but many benefit from a good prune and feed at this time of year.

  7. magic cochin

    I think last year’s cool moist summer did your shrub a favour.

    Patience is the secret of a good garden!


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