An intervention

The past few years I’ve been in denial. Just recently some of my best gardening friends believed it was time for an intervention – and I was the subject of their rescue. Well, perhaps not me personally, but a portion of my garden.

It seems that I had allowed myself to become co-dependent with one of the oldest and most favored conifers in my garden. It was getting so bad, that this big bully was crowding out several of my smaller plants and I was unable to take the steps needed to solve this problem on my own. Thankfully, I have friends that were able to see the negative effects on my garden and through their wise counsel and strong backs, we were able to work together to set things right.

Picea pungens 'Montgomery'
Cute when small, these plants will soon outgrow their space.

28 years ago, I purchased a cute little blue mounding Picea pungens ‘Montgomery’ and gave it a prominent place in my garden. At six or eight years old, this small mound of year-round bright blue fit well in my young garden. Over the years though, ‘Montgomery’ continued to grow, becoming a wonderful compact blue pyramid. Nearby, I had planted several different things over the years including perennials and other dwarf and miniature conifers. Space began to fill in and the perennials were moved to new homes while the conifers slowly matured.

Picea pungens 'Montgomery'
In time, ‘Montgomery’ will become a large stately specimen in the garden.

Actually I knew better than to plant my other treasures so close to my ‘Montgomery’, but I always believed it would be easy enough to move things later. Well, later arrived a few years ago, and like I said, I’ve been in denial. As much as I love my large ‘Montgomery’ (which had grown to nearly twenty feet tall and at least twelve feet wide), deep inside, I knew something had to be done.

Thanks to the intervention of some good friends, I was able to dig and transplant the surrounding conifers. Even though they were all true dwarf and miniature conifers, they too were fifteen to 25 years old and had become too large for me to manage by myself. Now I have a new garden bed to design with one large specimen as its anchor.

There are two morals to this story: First, plan your garden carefully to avoid the need of a garden intervention. Second, as you grow older, be sure to continue to make friends with the younger generations. You never know when you may need extra hands with strong backs!

Next time, I’ll talk more about some excellent alternatives to the stately ‘Montgomery’ with reduced growth rates. In the meantime, you might like to take a look back at my thoughts on the Blue Dwarfs in my garden.

Conifer Lover


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