Blueberry Hill

Here's how it started, but over the years I converted to a
more nave plant pallet with a big yucca replacing those
hidden ginger lilies. And tropical sage and blue curls
replacing the zinnias.
We lost a sweet gum tree in one of the 2004 hurricanes. There were 4 big storms that year--it was our welcome to Florida because we'd moved here in June of that year.  But instead of grinding out the stump as recommended by the tree guy so we could convert that area to lawn, we covered it with pond muck and compost and build a butterfly garden there in the middle of our back yard.

Read my post from back then, From Stump to Butterfly Haven.

Moving the blueberries

Back in 2009, I planted 3 blueberry bushes that were bred for Florida. I wrote about this adventure in Florida's Blueberries. The bushes were small when I planted them 3 feet from the back of the detached garage.

The new blueberry bushes were small when I planted them. We've enjoyed the crops over the years.

The blueberries had outgrown their spot and there is
more shade now than in 2009. 
 I'd planted them in this protected position to protect them from heavy frosts. Over the years, we and the birds have enjoyed the berries. They've grown a lot since 2009 and for several reasons, it was time to move them.

Also, the Yucca on the mound had fallen over due to rotting because of the damp situation in the area. Plus, the mound was in need of some tending since it had become a little too wild. The mound would not be large enough to support the three shrubs, so I doubled its size by adding my whole compost pile mostly at the back side of the mound where there is often standing water after a hard rain. Unlike the yucca, the blueberries will thrive in that moist environment. And so instead of a butterfly mound, it's now "Blueberry Hill."*
The sweet gum roots were out-competing the blueberries.i dug under the sweet gum roots to dig out the blueberry shrubs, especially the 2 that were closest to the trees.
The sweet gum roots were a problem. I didn't want to damage these big roots, but at the same time, I wanted to preserve as much of the root mat around the blueberry trunks. Scooping the soil out from under the big roots and the shrubs worked fairly well and I was able to keep the blueberry surface roots together. I carefully transported them to their new location out on the newly enlarge mound. Once I got the 2nd and third shrubs out there, I saw that I needed to expand it even more. I ended up using the whole compost pile for this project, which is fine because the blueberries will appreciate the rich soil and they will be happy to get away from the alkaline environment near the cement foundation. Blueberries like an acid soil and now they won't have so much competition for water and nutrients in their new spot.

I was able to keep the root mat around the shrubs in tact. A good thing for their survival rate. Adding more compost to expand the mound to accommodate all three shrubs.

After planting and the addition of many gallons of water, I used a whole load of arborists chips around the new edge of the mound, making sure to create a nice level surface for easy mowing. The mowing will also be easier out here now that the wettest area is under the new portion of the mound.

The final touch is a nice pine needle mulch.
Fall is a reasonable time for transplanting shrubs in general and after several days, the leaves did not wilt at all, so I must have provided enough irrigation for the blueberries. However, there's a good chance that even though the flower buds have been formed, that they will drop the buds and not flower to save their energy for new root formation.

I hope you are enjoying the cooler weather for some of your landscaping projects.

Climate-Wise Landscaping: Practical Actions for a Sustainable Future

Pre order a copy from Sue at
www.climatewiselandscaping.com
Sue Reed, a landscape architect in Massachusetts, asked me to be the coauthor. We did not debate climate change, but we came up with 100s of actions that you can accomplish right now in your landscape that will accomplish at least one of the following missions:

  1. to help landscapes become more resilient, so they can better survive climate change;
  2. to help wildlife survive climate change; and/or
  3. to actually mitigate climate change. 

It will be published in Spring 2018 by New Society Press in BC, Canada. In 2010, Sue also wrote the award-winning “Energy-Wise Landscaping” also published by New Society Press. 

Pre order a copy from Sue at www.climatewiselandscaping.com. Thanks.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt


*Blueberry Hill
Fats Domino: R.I.P.


I found my thrill
On Blueberry Hill
On Blueberry Hill
When I found you
The moon stood still
On Blueberry Hill
And lingered until
My dream came true
The wind in the willow played
Love's sweet melody
But all of those vows you made
Were never to be
Though we're apart
You're part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill
The wind in the willow played
Love's sweet melody
But all of those vows you made
Were never to be
Though we're apart
You're part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill

The author

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