One of the garden housekeeping tasks I had created for myself was to move some existing shrubs into the new Topsoil Border near the stream. Thus a small Malus ‘Hornet’ was moved for the second time, joined by recalcitrant paeony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’. They were to be joined by a callicarpa and ornamental quince, Chaenomeles ‘Madame Butterfly, both currently in lead effect pots on the paved area in view of the kitchen. The latter two had remained in pots longer than may have been good for them as I just didn’t have anywhere else to put them. The jury was out, however, on the three cornus in similar but square pots (photo from earlier in the year) – partly because over winter I have the pleasure of seeing their lovely coloured stems, but also because…..
The first sign that these lead-effect pots, made out of ‘fibreclay’, was last year when a piece of the largest one (containing Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’) broke off in my hand as I pulled the pot a few inches across the slabs. It was initially patched up successfully with flashing tape, but this year I just needed to look at it and more pieces fell off so a new home for the rose was factored in and I was ultra cautious when removing the callicarpa and quince from their pots. Clearly ultra caution was not enough as the smallest pot with the callicarpa went the same way and only very delicate excavation of the middling pot saved it from similar annihilation, although removing the remaining compost may finally see it off. So – do I risk moving the cornus from their pots…?
I had almost decided to enjoy another winter of them in situ, but after the callicarpa and quince episode a removal attempt before they got any bigger seemed the better option, even at the risk of a complete pot disaster. Structurally, I guessed that rooting around in the square pots would put less pressure on the sides than the round pots anyway – and these pots were a little younger than the others as well. Thankfully, the pots were unscathed and the cornus look more than happy in the new border.
The shrub moving was carried out earlier in the week when the weather was changing quickly and without warning from heavy rain to sunny skies, but I had to wait for the dry day we were promised today to get on with one of my favourite occupations, bricklaying – now, subject to some additional soil and garden compost, the new bold border is ready for occupation, although unlike the shrub border will probably remain vacant till next year: