Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Moving house - and garden

Today’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post will be a bit different than all the other I have made before. I am still waiting to hear if I have got the bungalow I have applied for, but it now seems likely that I will get it so I am continuing to prepare for a move. The most important thing I will take with me? My garden of course! Yes, most of my garden is coming with me, at least the plants.

I have been sitting on my gardening stool lifting plants for 2 months and now I am almost done.

I have just 3 more plants to lift and then I will consider myself finished.

I have counted the pots again, every single pot – from the smallest cutting pot to the biggest container.

I got to 624 pots and containers. And they are all coming with me to the new house.

But some plants will stay, because they are too big to move or won’t survive a move. This lovely rose on the fence is one of them, ‘Crimson Cascade’ – it is more than 4m long from one end to the other and it shoots up 2m tall during summer with masses of deep red roses. I will miss it but hope to come back in the autumn to take some cuttings.

These two sarcococcas are staying and so is the Taxus baccata you can just about see in between them. The small rhododendron to the left is one of two plants I hope to come back for in November and the new tenant has agreed to this.

The Grand Lady of the garden, the huge camellia sadly has to stay. I would have needed a digger to move it!

I have tried several times to take cuttings from it, but have failed. The branches are not low enough for me to bury and root so I can’t see any other way of propagating it.

I inherited the camellia with the house and have no idea of name or age, it is probably as old as the gardens around here, which means it is at least 60 years old.

The huge hydrangea I planted 12 years ago as a tiny plant is also staying, so is the Viburnum next to it.

I have tried to leave plants with no or minimal requirements, the rose being the only exception, as the new tenant is no gardener and wants to leave his current house because he can’t take care of the garden there. In my garden here he will have shrubs with all year interest and a few plants that need a bit of care, but not exactly overwhelming work. The hard landscaping is staying so he could always put in some more plants when he feels more confident.

I was a bit afraid of stripping the garden completely bare, but when I made a list of everything I have left here, I think it looks quite long after all – it just shows how many plants I had to start with I guess. So after taking out 649 pots, the plants I am leaving are:

Anemone white
Arisaema amurense (those I could not find, probably many)
Arisarum  proboscideum, Mouse Plant (those I could not find, probably many)
Camellia japonica
Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' 
Clematis texensis 'Gravetye Beauty' 
Convallaria majalis, Lily of the Valley (lots)
Crocus (those I could not find, probably many)
Cyclamen (those I could not find, mainly babies which will grow bigger over the years)
Disporopsis pernyi (3 plants)
Fern
Galanthus nivalis (a few, will self-seed over the years)
Galanthus woronowii (a few, will self-seed over the years)
Helleborus hybridus (lots of babies, will become mature plants in 5 years’ time)
Hemerocallis 'Sammy Russell'
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Dark Pink'
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Pink' 
Lilium 'Orange Joy' (6 bulbs)
Lilium regale (not sure how many I have left, probably around 30 + of various size)
Narcissus, unknow - white and yellow (around 20)
Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' (2 plants and many offspring)
Paeonia lactiflora 'Sarah Bernhardt'
Penstemon Pensham 'Amelia Jayne'
Puschkinia Libanotica (those I could not find)
Rhododendron 'Dopey'
Rhododendron 'Geisha Purple' (Azalea)
Rosa 'Crimson Cascade'
Sarcococca confusa
Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna
Scilla Siberica 'Bright Blue' (those I could not find)
Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' (2 plants)
Syringa komarowii reflexa (?)
Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata Robusta'
Thuja (plicata?) (the 9-10m tall tree – definitely not something to move!)
Viburnum 'Farreri'

I hope this will be a manageable garden for the new tenant and I have offered to come and help and give advice if he wants it – that gives me a chance to take some cuttings too.

Having lifted and potted all the plants I started to think about how to move all these pots over to the new garden. After several days’ search on the Internet I came across a company that buy, sell and hire new and used plastic boxes and crates of all sizes. The company, Plastic Box Sales has given me an amazing service and I am so happy I managed to find them online. The owner David has really gone above and beyond normal customer service and I like to give credit where credit is due!

The crates I chose are the same as those supermarkets use when you have home delivery, and last week I got 100 crates delivered to my front garden. 170 kg of crates placed in my front garden – and I had bin collection day the next day....

I spent 4 hours carrying, pushing, pulling and dragging crates, 3 at the time, from my front garden, through my house to the back and stacking them up here in the garden, ready to be filled with plants.

And this is my garden yesterday, from a distance it looks no different than usual.

But it is. All the plants are now tucked into crates and the crates are placed in the beds between the few plants still left there.

There are crates everywhere, the garden looks like a garden centre on stocktaking day.

More crates.

And on this side too.

There are even crates on my garden bench as I could not fit all of them in the beds. The crates are perfect for my various sizes of pots, even filled with large pots the crates are still a manageable weight to lift and carry. Some of the crates can be stacked on top of each other during transportation, the rest of the crates will have to be transported unstacked as the plants are too tall.

And look at my nursery shelf – it has been crammed full of plants from day one, now all that’s left are the containers on the top.

The largest pots and containers are here on the patio, no point in putting them in a crate as they are easier to carry one by one.

My aim is to get a removal company to move everything, but I need a quote for the job first so I will ask the company I have chosen to come and look first – once I have a moving date. I hope they won’t faint when they see what I got in my garden!!! If the quote for moving both house content and garden is too expensive for me, the alternative is for my son to hire a van and then ask a few people around to help moving the plants. It has to be done as close as possible to my moving day as I can’t leave the plants in the new garden for too long before I am living there myself – plants in pots have to be watered much more often than when in the ground and with the good weather we are having now I have been watering thoroughly 2 times a week.

I still have 3 plants to dig up, 2 large fuchsias here on the end, and the enormous Clematis armandii 'Apple Blossom' – currently in full flower. I would not leave such a monster plant to someone who has declared himself a non-gardener, it requires a LOT of pruning to keep in shape on this wall so I would not wish to leave such a high-maintenance plant. My aim is to simply chop it off at the height of the fence and lift it out. Hopefully it won’t be a huge job as it has only been 2 years in the ground.

I assume the clematis will regrow quickly as this plant grows with the speed of light! It deserves a space where it can grow bigger and spread more than what I gave it here, I hope it will get that in my new garden. If I can’t get it to recover at least I will have tried – and saved the new tenant from a big headache plant :-)

My biggest plant to move didn’t need to be lifted, it was already in a container – my lovely Magnolia soulangeana 'Heaven Scent'. It is now well over 3m tall but is slim and should not be a problem getting through the house if carried by two people.

The magnolia has been flowering for a few weeks and these photos are from last weekend, before the petals started dropping in the strong wind we had yesterday.

The magnolia will get a permanent place in the new garden in the ground, I think it will like that better than life in a container, but it seems happy enough for now growing in a container.


I just love these huge flowers, sadly they have no scent, which is strange considering the name 'Heaven Scent'.

I still don’t know when I will be moving – in fact – I haven’t signed a contract yet so I am not even 100% sure IF I am moving, but I am not able to pack up my house - and my garden in one week, and that’s all I get from signing the contract till I am expected to move – that’s social housing in Britain for you. Instead I have to do a little bit of work every day and just hope I am going to move. Packing up the house is going to take me a good few weeks to complete now that I am almost finished with the garden. I hope to have some good news for you all when I write my next post at the end of the month. Until then, take care.

I am linking my post to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, please visit our host for many more April gardens.


UPDATE – FROM MY HOSPITAL BED !!

Wednesday I had an outpatient appointment at the pain clinic at UCLH, here in London, and after I was finished, while waiting for hospital transport to go home, I went to the toilet. I did what I needed, put my clothes back on, and noticed my compression tights on the left foot was not straight. I bent down to straighten it – and dislocated my hip, standing there in the toilet at the hospital!
I am now lying in a hospital bed, not sure what’s going to happen with everything. My hip is back in place, I had a general anaesthetic last night where they put it back in place, but they have not let me out of bed yet and I am unsure if I will have to eventually change my hip replacement to a bigger and more stable one, as this is the second time I am dislocating.

This could not have come at a worse time, with a house and garden half packed and a house move pending. After a dislocation I will have 8-10 weeks were I will not be allowed to bend forward more than 90 degrees when standing and sitting, and not pick up anything from the ground. Apart from that is obviously the pain, I don’t respond to normal pain medication so there is not really anything I can take to relieve pain at home, and what I get in hospital is not much help either. How is that for bad luck? I have been sooooo careful since my last dislocation in August 2012, I really have been taking care for it not to happen again. And then I manage to dislocate my hip replacement in a hospital. You would think that would make things easier, when things like that happen in a hospital, but it still took nearly 12 hours before I was in theatre having my hip put back in place.

I hope I will be sent home soon, and if I have to have yet another hip operation hopefully it can come later on, when I have time to deal with it and everything that comes afterwards in terms of recovery. Right now I need to get fit enough to move house!

I am sorry I won’t be able to respond to you all individually, but I will get back to you all later on. More updates when I have some news :-)
 
 

48 comments:

  1. My goodness, what an enormous job for you! You've achieved so much in just two months. I take my hat off to you. You've also been very considerate about the new tenant and really given a lot of thought to what he could maintain. You must be so very excited about the move. Will you have a lot more space so you can spread out those plants once they're moved? Looking forward to seeing lots of photos.

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    1. Sorry, but I am in hospital, please see my update at the end of my post.

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  2. You have set out a major project for yourself to move your garden as a priority. Knowing your challenges from previous posts I am so impressed with what you have accomplished. I am happy for you to make a move to a bungalow which sounds as if it has more space for plants. Can't wait to see your new garden take shape.

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    1. Sorry, but I am in hospital, please see my update at the end of my post.

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  3. Dear Helene, I can't believe that you are intending to move 624 plants in containers. That is real determination. Your headline is truly to take literally, you are moving your garden! I am so impressed with you!!! Lifting these plants out of the ground and potting them up must have been so much work, I don't know how you have done it all. The only thing that I can wish you now is that you get the bungalow and that you can really do the move. Good luck and much mental and physical strength.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Sorry, but I am in hospital, please see my update at the end of my post.

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  4. I actually burst out laughing when you said you had 624 pots. That must have taken you AGES! I am so impressed at how tidy they all look in your garden too! All the very best with your move. Uncertainty is a horrible thing - I hope you hear very soon. Good luck!

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    1. Sorry, but I am in hospital, please see my update at the end of my post.

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  5. Hei Helene!

    Det er litt av en jobb du har gjort med alle de plantene! Men sånn er det når en vil ha med seg hagen sin når en flytter :)
    Godt at du får med deg den flotte magnoliaen, for den er jo så fin.
    624 potter er mange, og jeg vet alt om det som hadde med meg ca 700 potter når jeg flyttet hit. Mye jobb, men det er verdt det!

    Lykke til med flyttingen!

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    1. Sorry, but I am in hospital, please see my update at the end of my post.

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    2. Huff da, håper det går bra med deg!

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    3. Litt bedre nå, er hjemme igjen etter en uke på sykehus og venter nå på endelig svar om jeg kan flytte. Håper at jeg kan flytte mandag den 11. mai, hvis alt går iorden :-)

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  6. Oh, you did a big work, Helene. I like that you were lucky to obtain these crates, now it's more easily to carry all pots. It's pity that nice rhododendrons stay here but I hope they will alive in autumn.
    Take care with your back and legs, dear.

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    1. Sorry, but I am in hospital, please see my update at the end of my post.

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  7. What an amazing effort you have put into taking your garden with you to your new home. I'm sure all that hard work will be rewarded and your beloved plants will thrive in their new surroundings. All best wishes for the transition.

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    1. Sorry, but I am in hospital, please see my update at the end of my post.

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  8. Really amazing, 624 plants in pots to move. You did an enormous job and this is only the beginning, they are already in crates but when they have arrived at your new place you have to plant them all in the garden, but I suppose that's more fun than potting up. All together it is an enormous project. I hope you get soon the liberating answer that you can go into the new bungalow. Take care of yourself!

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    1. Sorry, but I am in hospital, please see my update at the end of my post.

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  9. The effort you've gone to with this move is just staggering, Helene. I'm very impressed by both your advance planning and sheer determination. I hope it all goes smoothly from here on out!

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    1. Sorry, but I am in hospital, please see my update at the end of my post.

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  10. Now, that's industrious! Hats off to you, Helene. You are a model for how to move a garden. That's nice that you gave the crating company some credit--it sounds like they've done a wonderful service for you. I'll be curious to hear how it all works out. Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Sorry, but I am in hospital, please see my update at the end of my post.

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  11. What a hectic time, but you are managing it with the best attitude and plenty of planning. I hope all goes well and you get the house you have your eye on.

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    1. Thanks Rosemary, not sure what will happen now but I keep on hoping.

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  12. Sending good wishes it all works out and you get word soon....I am bowled over by the work you have done to move your beloved garden...amazing and helpful for any of us who may need to do this in the future.

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    1. Thanks Donna, I came home yesterday evening after a week in hospital, not sure what will happen but I still hope to move. I will keep you all updated.

      I am not sure if moving your whole garden is the best way, but I couldn’t just leave all the plants I have cared for for such a long time – so I lifted as much as I could. I might live to regret that, time will tell :-)

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  13. Lots of watering. Then you need to balance need for water with the need to be able to transport without flooding the removal van.

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    1. Yes, haven’t done this before so will be trial and error I suppose – as usual.

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  14. Oh no! I hope your hip heals quickly! You have done so much already in the garden - I am so impressed! That's so great that you will be able to take most of your garden with you. I hope everything goes well with the move, and that the timeline will give you some time to recuperate first!

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    1. Thank you for your kind well-wishes, I came home yesterday evening after a week cooped up in hospital. Now I have lots to sort out, not even sure if I have lost the house or if I can still move – and if I can, how to do that, I am in no shape to pack up a house really so….yes, lots to sort out.

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    2. You won't regret potting up your garden. I'm now enjoying rearranging the pots and planning where the plants will go.
      Wish you well and that friends and family can help you thru this difficulty at precisely the wrong time.

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    3. Thanks Diana, I must admit I do sometimes wonder if I am mad trying to move with me all these plants, but then again…I can’t really bare to think leaving any of them behind! Biggest challenge will be to keep them hydrated over the summer as I know it will take a long time to get them into final place.

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  15. Oh my goodness! Such a stroke of bad luck! I wish I lived close by so I could drop in and water all those pots. Such a lot of work you did to pack up your garden for the move. Hopefully you will be sent home soon and will recover quickly. I admire your determination immensely! Take care Helene. I'll be thinking of you and wishing you well.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, I wish you all lived a bit closer, I know all my gardening friends would have chipped in if they could in a situation like this, I certainly would have – but most of you live in different countries or even continents from me :-) My neighbour has been very kind and hosed down the pots for me a few times, I have not been outside yet to see the state of everything, but will try to have a look later today.

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  16. Helene, get better soon, or even sooner! Your new home and new garden need you, and I love reading your post and looking at the photographs. Take care of yourself. Lots of love!!!

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    1. Thank you so much Aga, my recovery will take time, I have done this before and know what I have in front of me – hopefully I will get to move and haven’t lost the house, lots to sort out now that I am finally home again. I will keep you all informed :-)

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  17. Helene, that is an unbelievable amount of work you have gone to and everything done in such a neat and tidy manner. Then! of all times, this has to happen, had I been nearer, I would have been so happy to help out. Get well as soon as possible, but I guess its impossible to rush. Alistair.

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    1. Thank you Alistair, I know you would have helped out, and thank you for the offer, I wish all my gardening friends lived closer to me – most of you don’t even live in UK :-) I am facing a long recovery, I know from last time and from my 3 previous hip operations, but I am determined not to lose the bungalow so I will just have to find a way to do this. I will keep you posted.

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  18. I hope you heal quickly and can get back to what you love. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, I got home from hospital yesterday evening – today I am trying to find out if I can still move house and how to logistically do that. I am determined not to lose the bungalow!

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  19. Helene, I am so sorry to hear about this badly timed accident. Sending you wishes for a speedy recovery so you can continue your moving journey.

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    1. Thanks, at least I am home from hospital, got home yesterday evening, now I can find out what to do and how. Not sure yet, but I will be moving, one way or the other :-)

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  20. Helene - I am sorry that you are in hospital. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. You can DM me on my Twitter account @gardeningshoe1 or via my Facebook page. Sending you massive wishes for the speediest of recoveries.

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    1. Thanks for your well-wishes Sarah, I sent you a friend request on Facebook.
      I came home yesterday evening after a week in hospital, good to be home!
      I wish I could rally all my gardening friends for a week-end ‘moving plants’ but I realise that none of you live close enough to me for that to be realistic – most of you don’t even live in UK. I know you live in Norfolk but that’s a fair way away from me anyway :-) But it is heart-warming to know you are all thinking of me.

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  21. Oh my, Helene, I was going to comment on your garden, but then I read your update--so sorry! I hope all goes well, and you are able to help somewhat with your move and get your new garden planted before you need surgery. I was thinking what a daunting task it must be to dig up and move your garden, but you certainly have it well-organized. I hope you can find a mover that treats your precious plants with the care they deserve. The magnolia is so beautiful--glad it's going with you. Best wishes that all works out! Rose

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    1. Thank you for your well-wishes Rose, I am home from hospital now but still don’t know what will happen with the house move and all. One thing at the time….It has been decided that I won’t have another hip operation at this stage, my hip replacement is not very good, that’s why it keeps dislocating, but a bigger one will give me very little flexibility so not really a good solution for me. I will try to keep this one for a while and see how it goes. I managed to stay careful for over 2 ½ years since my first dislocation – I hope to not dislocate again!

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  22. Wishing you a speedy recovery and that everything works out for you.

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    1. Thanks Rick, I still haven’t got a final yes to my application for a mutual exchange but it looks like everything will be sorted and that I will move on Monday the 11th – fingers and toes crossed!

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