Finally Moving Home - Help!

jodik_gwJune 1, 2014

Well, guys and gals... after 8 long years away from family, we're finally making the move back home. We'll be combining our household into my son's, so my dilemma begins with how to pare down all the bulbs and plants I have so I don't overwhelm anyone with green leaves and pots!

Could I force a dormancy on some of my common Hippeastrum bulbs... or would it be better to cut off leaves and keep them all potted... what would you do if you had to suddenly decide how to accommodate all your plants into a smaller collection for a move?

I can see a couple that aren't doing well that i could sacrifice to the compost heap... but most of my bulbs are currently in leaf... I just don't know what to do... I have about a week to think about it.

Any suggestions?

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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

Hi Jodi!! Welcome back!

Of course, you know cutting down your bulbs isn't going to reduce the number of them⦠but it sure would make it easier to move them. I guess my first step would be to take an inventory and determine what duplicates I have and then, if I had to, keep only the healthiest largest bulb of that hybrid.

I've always been a firm believer that a cut leaf is easier to deal with than a broken leaf, and if you try to pack those pots with their leaves intact, you're just bound to end up with a mangled mess. I don't think I would take them out of the pots, as then you'll be faced with the hassle of re-potting them in your new location. Does your son live in the same zone? It's early enough in the season that they should be able to recuperate through the summer. If you're moving somewhere warmer, they may have a longer growing season.

I hope you can find loving homes for those you can't take with you....

Best of luck to you! Check back in when you're settled to let us know how it goes. We sure miss you on this forum.


PS... If you could combine multiple small bulbs into a single pot, then it would give the illusion that you have fewer bulbs than you really do!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 10:26AM
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Hey, Kristi! I know.. I've been exceedingly lax in checking in, and I do apologize... I've had a lot on my plate lately, and my health is decidedly taking a dive. This move will be good for us. We're getting too old and decrepit to continue so much manual labor for so little reward. I have fully enjoyed the freedom to garden, and all the animals, but the workload is just too much. I'm getting weaker by the day, it seems. Lupus and other things are catching up with me. I have to accept the fact that I'm not young any longer.

Thanks very much for the suggestions... I think I'll cut leaves back and pack as many healthy bulbs as I can, in situ, as it were. That should help me to keep a few more.

We're in what is almost zone 6 now, but we'll be moving about 3 hours north, which brings us back to a solid zone 5, or 4b depending on the winter.

My problem is going to be... less windowsill space, less lighting, and just less overall space to spread out. My son lives in a small town, in a small 3 bedroom home on a corner lot. We'll have our own room... it's being built right now... but it won't have window space.

For now, I can easily place my pots on their back deck, where they'll have a nice summer... fall will bring a new space issue, but I'll deal with that when the time comes.

I was thinking about repotting the smaller bulbs into group pots, for the very reason you mentioned! I'd best get on it... I go up in a week, when the kids get out of school. I'll be hanging with them while Mom and Dad are at work. The old man will join us as soon as he gets our stuff sorted through and packed.

I anticipate having more free time to read and post, so I'll try really hard to get back into the bulb swing, as it were... I've missed everyone here, too... I guess I get kind of depressed when everyone is plotting and planning for new bulbs... and I realize I can't afford any. Moving north should help alleviate that problem, too... that's where our entire network of friends and business associates are located, making it a lot easier to earn extra coin.

Well... I guess I'm gonna take stock of what I've got... empty out those to toss, repot small bulbs into group homes, and get a set of cutters ready for the day I cut back those gorgeous green leaves! That leaves 2 small orchids, 1 epi-cacti, a plumeria, and a few odds and ends to pack.

Thanks, Kristi! Have a lovely Sunday! :-)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 11:00AM
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sun_worshiper(FL 9b)

Hi Jodi. Sorry to hear your health is presenting such a challenge. Hang in there! How wonderful that you have family to help you. Sounds like you have a good strategy worked out. I have one suggestion, for the bulbs you cannot keep, why not offer them up to a new home rather than throw them out? You might be able to trade for some plants that are outside appropriate for your new zone. Or I'm sure if you didn't want to trade you'd get volunteers who'd adopt them and pay the postage. Then you wouldn't have to be sad about any getting thrown out. Good luck with your move!


    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 7:46AM
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Thanks, Angela... I think I'll be able to keep most everything, once I get a few of the smaller bulbs grouped together in community pots.

The only bulbs I'd ever throw out to the compost heap are those so far gone in desiccation that salvage isn't an option. I'm a complete bulb enthusiast... a bulb nut!

Amaryllids and other tender bulbs have been my fascination, my passion for many, many years.

Incidentally, I just noticed last night that I have a scape popping up on a Minerva, I think it is... my very favorite of all the bulbs, believe it or not, as common as it is. This variety brings good memories with it, of my beloved bulldog, Minerva, that passed several years ago... and the original bulb I bought for a whole $3 because of the name.

I've already had two nice bulbs bloom this spring, and was not expecting anyone else... a nice surprise!

My health is to be expected, really... I'm not getting younger, and Lupus and chronic pain have worn me down. It's time to retire from labor intensive jobs and spend time doing something I think is really important... being with family to watch our grandchildren grow up. I don't want to miss that!

There's so much we want to teach them... to pass down knowledge about subsistence living... how to grow, raise and gather food from the land, how to put it up, how to be self sufficient, etc... that's the kind of lifestyle we love. We've always lived way out in the boonies, and have always done a lot of hunting and fishing, growing foods, raising farm animals, sewing, canning and storing foods, building and maintaining a homestead, producing clean power from solar and wind, using Mother Nature in a beneficial way... it would be a shame to lose all that knowledge and more.

The grand scheme is to combine our households so we can save enough money a little quicker to move farther out into the country, so we can all enjoy the kind of life we love.

I just can't leave my bulbs behind in the process! :-)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 7:38AM
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sun_worshiper(FL 9b)

Glad to hear you can consolidate enough to take them all with you! Sounds like you have lots of wonderful plans!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 8:24AM
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Thanks! Yes... where there's a will, there's a way! My bulbs will all make the trip, and they'll be fine...

First load complete... the old man drove me and the dog up north almost 2 days ago, and we took the first load of potted plants with. It's a smaller box containing my orchids, some ledebouria and baby cacti, and most of my smaller bulbs.

The larger potted bulbs and other plants will be part of consecutive trips. In the meantime, the old man will water and take care of them for me.

He rolled back south this morning to continue packing, and to tie up some loose ends... like fixing the pump by the barn, and other necessary jobs.

We're in no big hurry to get everything moved... we'll take it nice and slow, using the opportunity to pare down the material part of our lives.

We've already dug a small garden space in my son's yard to grow a belated organic garden. The grandkids are so excited at the prospect of picking fresh veggies! They both donned their little gloves and helped remove the sod pieces and place them all in Grandpa's newly built compost ring!

I already miss the old man, but he'll join us soon. Even though the house, here, is filled with non-stop action and youth, it feels so much more peaceful and stress free! I'm loving it! :-)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 9:06PM
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Second load complete! Everything survived just fine... and I haven't had to cut anything back so far!

Today, we pack up the third load of potted bulbs, among other boxes of stuff, and head north. After that, only one more load of two or three large pots and every plant I have will be happily ensconced in its new home!

In the meantime, my husband has graciously been taking care of the plants left behind while I'm north watching the grandkids, and he's doing a fabulous job! I'm very proud of him... he's not really a plant person! :-)

The move is probably going to take us a lot longer than we anticipated... we have a ton of stuff to sort through, and I have so much garden equipment and pots that I forgot I had! Eek! How do I condense everything so I don't have to sacrifice so much?! ;-)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:47AM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

The good thing about gardening equipment, is that if it's protected from the weather, it never goes bad. You can buy some plastic totes, or perhaps even just a cheap plastic garbage can, that can be stored outside out of the direct sunlight and you should be fine!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 8:18PM
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Good suggestion, Kristi... there is some under the deck space for storage. A tote or plastic bin would work pretty good.

You wouldn't believe the stacks and stacks of clay pots and saucers I've accumulated... I think I need to have a garage sale! It doesn't look like that much, until you get it all together in one pile!

I think we'll definitely have a garage sale and try to pare down the sheer number of pots and other items that have built up over the past decade or so. There comes a point in life when you realize that you just don't need that much stuff!

I'm thinking I'll keep a good assortment of sizes, but get rid of the excess numbers... how many 3 inch or 6 inch pots does one person need, anyway?! ;-)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 11:12AM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

Jodi, you're asking the wrong person, who seems to order 100+ 1-gallon pots every year or so. Now I'm wondering if sqaure based, taller pots would take up less room, which would mean repotting EVERYTHING!!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 12:09PM
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LOL! :-)

Well, square pots would fit together better, and there'd be less wasted space around them... gosh, the dilemmas we face! ;-)

I'm in the process of re-potting to make it seem like I have less in the way of plants... putting three or more bulbs into community pots, depending on bulb size. I have quite a few mid-sized bulbs and several little ones that could be potted together.

There's simply not a lot of good window space here, so I have to improvise.

When it comes to plastic, I have way more than I could ever use in a lifetime... and as for un-glazed clay, I have way too many! I just can't decide what to keep and what to get rid of! Argh!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 10:13AM
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Who's the old man?? Your father, uncle, helper?


    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 9:53PM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

Her dear and kind (tolerant and understanding of her Hippi hobby) husband!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:32PM
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Kristi, he's been wonderful... ever so carefully supporting all the leaves with stakes and tie-ups, balancing them carefully in the car for the ride up, using added support to soften anything that might rub on the leaves, and even making sure there isn't too much breeze from an open window...

And the bulbs and other plants left behind that still have to be moved... he's been caring for them extremely well, watering and feeding, ensuring enough sunlight, etc... even calling me if he notices a change, to find out if it's something unusual or critical, or just normal. He's been more than just a real trooper! He's been more worried about my bulbs than I am!

I think he'd feel guilty if any went downhill under his watch... so he's taking every precaution! He went from a guy that knew very little about bulbs and houseplant care, to a guy that put himself through a crash course in plant culture... just to make me happy.

He even boxed up my supplies, and the ingredients I use to mix my own medium and made sure I had everything available. I think I'll keep him! :-)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:19AM
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