One of the pre-moving tasks I set for myself this summer was to take starts and cuttings from some of our most loved plants in our gardens here, so that we can start our new gardens over again in Washington without having to pay a fortune to do so. So, over the past three weeks, the empty planter pile has been shrinking, and the rows of thriving potted garden starts is growing. It is beginning to look like a small nursery is living on our back porch.
I took cuttings of our lovely seedless blue grape vine, which we have really enjoyed over the years here. It produces sweet dark blue dessert grapes that taste a little like blueberries when fully ripe and make the tastiest raisins as well. It is cold hardy, productive (40-50 lbs from one vine!) and quite vigorous. We would love to have several of them at the new place, so I started 14 softwood cuttings last week. If we get 4-6 vines from this batch of cuttings, I will be thrilled. If we get more, we may have to give a few away, because just one will completely fill up a large trellis! This is the “mother vine.” The trellis it is covering is 7 feet tall.
I took elderberry cuttings today. We have several red elderberries on the new homestead, but reds are not as good for eating and making jams and wine as the blues and blacks, so I would prefer to have starts of the ones we have here, which are always super productive and tasty. The flower heads on these often reach 14-16 inches in diameter, and they come back up very strongly every year after their winter sleep. Since elderberries love moist soil, I think they will do even better out in Washington – or, at least, they should not do any worse.
I have also dug up and potted several dozen of my violets. I have three different kinds at the moment – some pretty little white violets with blue speckles, some plain but prolific tiny blue ground cover type violets, and some lovely dark purple Labrador violets. I dug several of my hostas up from the side yard garden and planted them in pots a couple of days ago. They were a bit large to be doing that at this time of year, but they all seem to have made it and look pretty perky already despite the interruption in their growing year. Hostas should also do very well out in western Washington.
Things I plan to take that I haven’t dug yet are our lovely dark red rhubarb plants, and some more raspberry starts. We took a few dozen raspberry starts out last time we traveled to the property, and “heeled” them in up in a bare spot above the forest for safekeeping. Last we heard they were doing fine, but I’d like to have a dozen or more starts in gallon pots as back ups, just in case. We are also planning to take many of our re-blooming German iris, all of my Orris Root irises, and some starts of the various daylilies we have collected over the years. We will also take our Siberian, Lousiana and Japanese irises which currently live in pots in the pond. I am still debating about whether to take my blue birthday hydrangea from a couple of years ago or not. It’s still small, because southeastern Idaho really isn’t the best place for hydrangeas, so it should transplant okay if I pot it up soon.
In addition to all this, we will be taking a large potted fig – which should be a lot happier out there because finally it can go into the ground to grow as large as it wants! We also have a nice large pot of Rosemary herb as well, which is also hardy in western Washington and will be transplanted into our new herb garden once we get it ready. Our two favorite mints and our lemon balm for teas are also thriving in pots and ready to go.
Two things I really wish we could take, but just can’t, are our hardy almond tree and our apricot tree. They are both just too large and well-established to dig up and transplant. We plan to replace them this fall or winter. I’m just glad to be able to take so many of the other plants I have loved and cared for over the years!