Monday, February 18, 2013

After Yesterday, I Thoroughly Understand 'Wind Chill'

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day, with a high temperature of 32 degrees (0 for our Celsius friends) and a steady strong wind.  Wind chill temperature was down well into the 'teens.  Where was I?  Not snuggled in the warmth of my house ... no, not I.  I was in northern Virginia with a group of about a dozen garden club members, digging up the garden of a fellow member who is moving.  (This wonderful effort was organized by Jim, the fellow in the bright blue jacket.  He is our fearless leader and someone that I am infinitely thankful to call my friend.)

This garden was a wonderful 19-year collection of plants, artfully chosen and skillfully shoe-horned into a narrow city lot.  The object of our day was to leave as little behind as possible, since a garden like this can only exist in the presence of its gardener.  The owner was keeping a bare minimum of sentimental plants.  Everything else was up for grabs.

We met at noon, and quickly got to work.  Many of us brought along as many spare, large pots as we could, to pot up the plants as they were dug.  One member had filled his truck with compost to use as potting mix ... Carol and I volunteered to be the potting crew.  She and I used the tailgate of the truck as our potting bench, and we worked quickly to pot and tag each plant as it was brought to us by the digging crew, as they proceeded systematically through the yard.
Within a few hours, the sidewalk and part of the street in front of Mark's house was packed with pots of plants of all sizes ... small trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs, and roses.  Those of us on the crew were welcome to take what we wanted, and the remainder was moved to a member's house to be stored for the club's plant sale in the spring. 
My goal was to support the club effort, lend my labor to the project, and bring home as little as possible. You won't be surprised to hear that my 4-door Jeep was packed completely full of plants on the drive home (to the point where I couldn't see out of my rear view mirror). I blame the cold for my lack of restraint ... plus there was the encouragement of fellow gardeners who said things like, "You HAVE to have this", or "No, you go ahead and take it."
I made a list of my plants as I unloaded them into the sunny protected spot beside our house.  I am thankful for the labels we wrote for each plant, so I know exactly what is what ... and I should have no trouble siting each of them where they will grow and perform best. 
Thank you, Mark, for sharing your garden with us.  I will think of you throughout the year as these plants grow and become a part of my own garden.  Thank you, also, to the Four Seasons Garden Club for being so generous with your knowledge and experience ... you are helping to encourage this rosarian to become a much more well-rounded plants person.
My Plant List:
Rose 'Rook' (Gallica hybrid)
Camellia 'Londontowne Blush'
Camellia 'Autumn Moon'
Camellia 'Autumn Carnival'
Camellia 'Korean Fire'
Camellia, unknown sasanqua
Arum italicum
Acoris 'Ogon'
Helebore foetidus
Lycoris radiata
Daylily 'Penny's Worth'
Iris 'Low Ho Silver'
2 pots of crocus
a lovely Serviceberry tree
3 unknown Clematis
Daffodil 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'
2 pots of Colchicum (autumn crocus)
2 large 'Nikko Blue' hydrangeas
and a spectacular Viburnum carlesii compactum!
If you are looking for me today, check outside because I have a lot of holes to dig.


  1. Now, that sounds like fun in spite of the cold weather.

  2. Oh that's wonderful! I have a sentimental attachment to Camellias, and many of the other plants on your list are either in my garden, or on my wish list.

    Sounds like a wonderful day in spite of the cold!!

  3. Wish I had a crew like that when I moved! We HAD to move all my rocks, too. Every time...but we had a farm loader and pickups and trucks! You are very lucky to belong to such a wonderful club!♥♫

  4. What a terrific project, saving all those plants instead of leaving them to some unknown fate.

  5. Ya, I really thought my fingers were going to fall off yesterday even with gloves on, and once we got home the heat in the house just ran forever! Really cold wind chill. I think our high for the day was somewhere between 19-23 degrees.

    You must have froze out there!

  6. What a great club and a great way to take plants and save them! I'm so glad you brought home a got some lovely plants. Stay warm if you can!
    hugs, Linda

  7. Spring will be here soon. It will be fun to see your shared plants in their new home.

  8. Yikes! I was out casually in the weather yesterday and froze by butt off.. You are brave and so sweet to have helped with that project! - Susan

  9. WOW you are a trooper. Have fun with all the new adoptions. I wanted to let you know that the little fig is not dead! YAY

  10. I love the idea of a dispersal of a well tended garden, spread out over the plots of other gardeners, instead of left to an unknown fate.

  11. That's an impressive haul! It would be fun to see what the clematis turn out to be, and the camellias will be so beautiful.

  12. It makes me smile to see so many new camellias on the list. I just acquired a new one from my mom because she was moving and couldn't take it with her. Unfortunately, I don't know the name as you do your new acquisitions.

  13. You know what you can do today or tomorrow. Lots to plant. It is nice to get so many Camellias for free, lovely. I never heard of gallica rose 'Rook', I suppose it's an own hybrid.

  14. Many camellias do very well for me. Fortunately, all but one of these were in one or two gallon pots, so I only had to dig small holes to plant them.

    'Rook' is a modern Gallica hybrid, developed in America by Paul Barden and released in 2004. Many Paul Barden roses do not do well here, with our extreme blackspot pressure ... I imagine 'Rook' will be a good rose, because Gallicas do very, VERY well in my garden.

  15. What a generous thing to do for a fellow gardener. I hate the wind, and cold wind is unbearable to work in. You deserve all the plants you came home with for the dedication of staying in that cold.

  16. That is the coolest thing to do. When I moved, my mother, who lived next door, took a lot of my plants, the ones that couldn't immediately travel with me, into her vegetable garden...there are still some there for me to move. And of course I had a couple of friends that took some. But I had to leave soooo many, and the guy who bought my little garden of Eden, is not a gardener. It still makes me sad to have left all those trees, shrubs, bulbs and perennials behind. Roses all came with me! And my own heirloom plants from relatives. Hope they all got planted.

  17. Being a good gardening friend seems to have paid off for you.

  18. Unbelievable-- you are a true friend to do that in bone chilling cold. Such an incredible feat-- your friend is so very lucky to have you!!


  19. What an awesome group to do this job especially in the bitter cold. And you got some mighty nice plants as your reward so well worth it!

  20. Now that's a die-hard gardener!! Love this post and that your car was full to the brim on the drive home! We're under a couple of feet of snow, so planting is only in my dreams!
    Hope you are well!

  21. That was so nice of everyone to pitch in. It's dreadful when people buy a new to them house, move in and proceed to destroy all those years of loving work. Well done in saving the "garden"!


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