Posted: Wednesday 9 July 2014
by Kate Bradbury
I’m at my mum’s for a week, helping her move house. The packing of boxes and cleaning has largely been done – my job is to move the garden.
I’m at my mum’s for a week, helping her move house. She’s lived here for 18 years and tomorrow she moves into a tiny cottage with a garden half the size of the one she’s used to. The packing of boxes and cleaning has largely been done – my job is to move the garden.
The plants I have to move fit into three loose categories: plants that mum can eat or which produce fruit she can eat; plants which have a sentimental value (planted for the death of a friend or pet, or inherited from a relative), and plants my mum just really likes.
But July is probably the worst month to move large, established plants. They’re all in full growth and full leaf – some of them are fruiting. But move them I must, preferably without killing any.
I’m starting with the raspberries. These are ‘Granny’s raspberries’ (we have no idea of the variety, but the fruits are tiny and taste like sweets). My granny (mum’s mum) grew them in her garden and we have taken a few plants with us wherever we have moved to. I grew some at the BBC allotment outside our old magazine offices, and I’m taking some back to London with me (along with a million other things, I’m sure).
The raspberries have mostly finished fruiting, so I’ll just cut them down to ground level and dig up the roots before replanting them in mum’s new ‘fruit bed’. I’ll keep them in a tub trug with a little earth and some water; they should be fine for a few days.
The Jerusalem artichokes, strawberry plants and spring-flowering bulbs should all be relatively straightforward to move, but the gooseberries and blackcurrants will sulk. I’ve removed the half-ripe fruit and given the plants a trim, but I’ll unearth them tomorrow morning, keeping as much soil around the roots as possible. Again, I’ll pop them in a tub trug with a little water, which I will keep in the shade so they don’t dry out too much. I’ll replant these as soon as we get to the cottage.
Then there are the Japanese maples. I don’t know where to start with these – they won’t fit in the tub trugs, but all of them have sentimental value. These will get the same treatment as the gooseberries and raspberries I think, but will be planted in the new garden as soon as possible. It’s a good job I’m here for a week and there’s no hosepipe ban – my mum’s new garden is going to be like a plant A&E. Constant vigilance is my only hope of success.