Monday, March 22, 2010

Empty Space

There's the "right plant, right place" mantra of gardening. We've all been guilty of breaking this rule; getting carried away with the "gotta have it" specimen that has us drooling in the nursery. Before we know it, the back seat is packed with plants and we're headed home.

The pair of trees I had in my garden, Ginkgo biloba and Trachycarpus fortunei, were a part of my "nice plant, wrong place" syndrome. Both were planted a couple feet next to each other (not my doing!). The ginkgo was also too close to our fence. It would never have enough room to grow to its potential.

One of the great things about being a gardener, is you've got friends who garden and are on the look out for something cool and can always use another plant to add to their collection. I found a good home for the ginkgo--one of my coworkers snagged it. Since the tree was about 15' tall, in its new place there was instant landscape satisfaction.

The trachycarpus on the other hand was a little hard to find a home for at first. Then it dawned on me that my friend, Riz, would be the best person to take it. The size of the tree was a bit of an issue. It reached six feet to the crown and was another 5 feet of fronds. I invited Riz over to take a look and he was impressed. I felt like a match maker! After arranging the logistics, Riz successfully transplanted the palm to his nursery at Landwave Gardens in Shoreline. You can see the process here: I'm thrilled that this fine specimen found such a great home!

So now what to do with all that space? I found a 4-way combo Asian pear at City People's in Madison Valley in February. Eldon has been asking and asking and asking for an Asian pear tree ever since we planted the apples for espalier. He actually wants an orchard, but settled on one tree since our garden is small. The 4-way combo was a way to guarantee pollination since I'm not sure if any neighbors close enough have Asian pears.

I have lots of breathing room for this tree, but I also now have a huge blank slate. What to plant? This may be prime space for my 'Rouge d'Alger' cardoon. I'm tempted to plant artichokes, but rumor has it that I'd be lucky to get a single choke. At least with cardoon, you can eat the stems of the leaves and the flowers are pretty to look at.

I will keep you posted on what I decide to plant. I'm hoping for as many edibles as possible. And stay tuned for pictures!