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Time or Money

Years ago, Dr. J.C. Raulston did a presentation for me at Riverbanks Botanical Garden which he called Time or Money. It was about how in gardening some people think the later can substitute for the former.

He showed that you can plant little plants and take care of them and wait or plant big plants for an immediate garden. You can.  Theme parks and Augusta golf courses do it. I’ve done both. And I’m here to tell you only time makes for a healthy, dynamic, holistic garden. Though moving big plants can surely be done ( much bigger than these oaks) it has risk and limitations.

My preference is always to start with smallish plants and take great care of them.   They’ll be beautiful, almost suddenly. And you get the fun of watching them grow up.

But sometimes, it has to be done.  Some clients demand instant though. The people who wanted new trees, simply wanted them really, really big.  Actually, they wanted them bigger than I was willing to go. So the massive trees in these pics are the compromise, smaller, healthy, lovely live oaks.  The one in this slide show is 12 inch caliper and about 25′ wide; we handpicked great trees, that had root pruned their whole life and did every technique for tender love and care that I know for these babies. 

Other plants in this dry shade shrub border include:

Ilex cassine

Cephelotaxus harringtonia ‘Duke Gardens’

Distyllium ‘Spring Frost’


Ardisia crenata ‘Beni Kujuaku’  (update spring 2014 — severe ice storm did this plant in)

Magnolia virginiana ‘Moonglow’

Prunus mume ‘Rosebud’ (update summer 2014 – glad I went back to remove the plastic tape and bamboo poles —- noticeable trunk growth)

Edworthia ‘Snow Cream’

Adiantum hispidulum (note severe ice storm 2014 did this plant in)

And one final picture,  something I’ve only seen while I gardening in downtown Aiken, South Carolina,  Santa on horseback with a pack of hunting dogs….santa

Thanks Karl Gercens, Nurseries Caroliniana, American Fern Society and J.C. Raulston Arboretum for the photo links.


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5 Responses to Time or Money

  1. Avatar
    Isaac December 19, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    I didn’t know live oaks were so prickly

    • Avatar
      Jennifer December 23, 2016 at 4:58 am #

      You aint seen nothin’ yet. Just wait until you get barbed by a Needle Palm

  2. Jenks Farmer
    Jenks Farmer December 20, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    That’s a great title for your first blog…..I didn’t know Live Oaks were so prickly and other things I wanna learn in this apprenticeship……

  3. Avatar
    Arthur in the Garden! December 20, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    Wow. I am always amazed with the moving of large trees!

    • Jenks Farmer
      Jenks Farmer December 21, 2013 at 7:36 am #

      Me too Arthur. And I often think I’m as stressed as the trees are by it.

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