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A few months ago, I was asked to help re-design part of our church’s parking lot landscape.  There was nothing really wrong with it except for some old plants and some dying Chinese Elm trees.

So, I created a design that switched out the dying Chinese Elm trees, which don’t do all that well in parking lots, with Sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo) trees.  I also switched out some of the missing Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens ‘Green Cloud’) shrubs as well.

I ordered the trees and shrubs and we were all prepared for an all-church work day.  I showed up bright and early (I think 8:00 is early for a Saturday, don’t you?), and met up with a 16-year old boy scout, who was earning community hours for his badge.


He was a very nice boy and we started placing all of the trees and shrubs.  Then we started digging….


Yes, I dug holes too….although it has been awhile since I’ve had to dig so many.

We worked on digging holes for the shrubs.  My ‘helper’ had never planted a shrub or a tree before and he watched and listened as I showed him how to do it.

I realize that most of you may know how to do this, but just in case, here is what we did.  He took pictures for me (I knew I would blog about this) – you can see his shadow in most of the photos…

First, I hit the sides of the container, to loosen the root ball from the container.

Then I spread my palm out so that I held the shrub between my thumb and fingers and then flipped the container and plant over.  I carefully pulled off the container.

The root ball was pretty healthy, it was not root bound.

I placed the shrub in our already dug hole.  **An easy tip for figuring out how deep the hole should be, is to put the entire container in the hole you have dug and see if the soil line of the plant is level with the sides of the hole (NOT the sides of the container).  You don’t want to plant too deep or too shallowly.  

My Boy Scout assistant finished planting the shrub, taking care not to pile up extra soil around the shrub.

After planting this shrub, we went on to plant more.  We took turns digging holes, but I must admit that he did more digging then I did.

I enjoyed working with him and explaining how to plant trees and shrubs.  After we had worked together for quite a few hours, he asked me, “Are you a teacher or something like that?”

I told him that I ‘teach’ people how to take care of plants.

I hope this was helpful to some of you.  I will share my tips for planting trees (we planted 6 of them), next time.

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On a personal note, I have been stuck at home the past few days.  My daughter, Gracie, is sick with an extremely contagious virus.  The sickness itself isn’t that bad, but the fact that it is easily spread is the problem.  She has to miss a week of school and will thankfully, go back on Monday.

However, I am going nowhere…..my son now has it.

So, I am spending my time writing gardening articles, knitting, blogging and doing a little gardening.  It really doesn’t sound all that bad when you think about, does it?