house hunting, moving plants?

laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)October 20, 2006

My husband and I are seriously thinking about getting a different house and property (in my book the property is just as important as the house!). We've gone round and round about this whole issue, but the house we're in needs some serious upgrading (roof, kitchen), and we'd rather put that money into a new house than spend all that time and money then move within a year or so anyhow. We need a similar-sized house with better use of space and a great room for my husband's musical interests (organs, keyboards, and the associated computer take up quite a bit of space!), and a much larger lot (I'd like an acre or more).

I'm trying to decide if I should pot up a few of my favorite daylilies NOW, just in case we find a house we like sooner than we expect. I can't pot up everything (no room, and it's just not practical), but there are a handful of plants that I do NOT want to leave behind. Winter is the WORST season for a gardener to move, but none of my daylilies are too expensive or irreplaceable, except for the handful of my own seedlings. I could just take the special ones, and replace the rest after the move. We've probably got a good six weeks before the ground freezes and I can't dig up anything until March, so I've got some time.

What have been your experiences with moving houses and choosing what to take with you from your garden? I'm really curious, since I've never had to do this before - we're still in our first house, with my first established garden. The whole prospect is both scary, and exciting.


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highjack(z6 KY)

No experience here but it sounds like fun if you get what you are looking for in the new place.

Instead of potting anything up, can't you plant things at your Mom's or even at the church and then move them next year when things are calmer?


    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 6:27PM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

Well, I suppose I could - except my Mom's house is an hour away, and both places suffer from an overabundance of deer. I might be able to take some things to my friend Becky's house, though. She's offered me yard space for daylily seedlings - this wouldn't be much different. I guess I'm just trying to think ahead, and save a headache later if something does happen with this property I'm interested in.

I was looking at Darryl Apps website today - he just has TOO MANY THINGS that I want, and I have NO room to plant more than a handful more without culling some of what I've already got. I really would like more space. . . .


    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 7:46PM
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flower_lover5(z6 IL)

If it were me, I would make it a stipulation in the sales contract that you have the right to come back at a specified time and dig up specified plants. Also make it part of the contract that you will leave the yard in "proper order" when you're done so that the buyers won't feel uneasy about the whole deal.

Unless plants are expensive, moving is usually such an ordeal that people don't get involved too much with the plants. By the time you dig them, move them, store them, (this could be a long time - settling into your new home will have to come first), design your gardens on a fresh slate, and FINALLY plant them in the ground, the plants suffer so much that you're better off to start fresh with new plants. But as I said - only if they are inexpensive plants and you feel you can afford to replace them.

Just my thoughts.............

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 2:34AM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

Thanks, Tammy! There was an interesting thread on this topic on another GW forum (can't remember which now). The general consensus was that unless a plant was irreplaceable, the best thing was to just leave everything in the garden for the new owners and start fresh at the new place. I'm leaning toward that myself, since I don't want to overly complicate my life. But there are a handful of plants I will want to take (perhaps a dozen daylilies plus the seedlings, and a few peonies and a couple irises), depending on when we move. It will be a real wrench to give up this yard, now that it's maturing (we've been here almost 10 years), but this is NOT a house and yard we want for the next 20 years either.

It's a tough call. I think I'm going to just wait and see what happens for now. I need to make sure that if I DO leave 95% of my daylilies behind that I have the $$$ on hand from the sale of this property to replace the ones I like best at the new place in the spring. I don't want to move and then have to wait a year to restart what I have now as a small collection. But, now that I have a better idea what I like in a daylily, and would like to breed for, a new collection from scratch would not be a bad place to start. There are pros and cons both ways.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 4:15PM
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gonegardening(7 VA)

Hey Laurel: How exciting for you! I have never moved great quantities of plants, but I have dragged plants back and forth across the USA...and it was not easy, lol! I'm sure I have written about it, but among others, I brought seven rose bushes back with me from Washington State! My husband famously said (big joke in our family): "What, you think they don't have roses in Virginia??!"

It's a task for sure. However, if I were to move now, I would HAVE to bring lots of my daylilies...there's just no way I could afford to replace what I have now. I sat next to a lady at the RADS dinner who moved 200 plants (out of a 600+ daylily garden) from PA to VA. I think it was very difficult and she lost some, maybe a mind has conveniently!

I hate to bring this up...but here, the housing market has really slowed. This is after a year ago when the houses were so hot they hardly stayed on the market. I hope up your way that is not the case. Gorgeous homes here are staying on the market for months and months. Everyone, of course, expects this to change as we are in a stable area (lots of government/defense jobs). I heard on the radio that they blame some of the new houses still on the market on people being unable to sell their old one.

Given that, I'm wondering if some of your issues might resolve without the worry. I don't know, maybe you already have a buyer for your house and do have to think of this right now!

I think Tammy is on to something there. I read where somebody when they listed their the listing it was noted that this was a collector's garden and as such the collections were not included. I like that!

Take care and know that this will all work out. Selling, buying, moving are some of life's biggest stresses...hang in there and focus on the joy of having more LAND! Lucky you!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 8:24PM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

Thanks, GG!

We haven't put our house on the market yet. We're pretty sure it would sell reasonably quickly, since the flood in our area over the summer damaged SO many homes and many people are looking for homes in this price range. Our concern is that we could SELL easily, but not BUY as easily, so we're being cautious. But we really do want to start looking at other properties. We would definitely include in the contract that certain plants would not be included in the sale, just to protect ourselves, even if we didn't take every single one.

I guess I waffle back and forth about taking all the daylilies. My collection isn't large, as daylily collections go - about 60 plants, not counting the seedlings growing indoors - and I COULD move them without too much hassle. None of them are expensive, and some are a couple years old and starting to clump up nicely. After making a listing of what I have, I realized that I could cull about 1/4 of them and add that many plants next year in the same space if we don't move - some of them just have not performed, or I didn't like them as much as I hoped when they finally bloomed. So, if we don't move, I could still add a dozen or so different ones to satisfy my daylily addiction.

I guess I've reached a point in my life where a big change like this would be welcome, an adventure, a reasonable next step to help our family get better long-term use out of our living space, and my husband agrees. This was a great starter home, but it's time to move on. The idea of starting a NEW garden is exciting to me, now that I know more and have a vision and direction for my gardening endeavors.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 9:16AM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

A little update on the house thing: we had a good meeting with our realtor, and we'll probably put the house on the market in the spring, after we've had a chance to do some smallish projects to make the house more saleable. A quicker sale would be well worth the time and money invested in a couple key areas. After looking at various properties over the past couple weeks, I think we'll be able to find something suitable next spring/summer - a decent house with an extra room for my husband's music studio, and a large chunk of land (hopefully over an acre).

SO, I don't have to dig up and overwinter anything in pots. We'll just include in the sale promos and the contract that some of the perennials (and likely all the daylilies!!) will be going with us on the move. That's a load off my mind, to have a preliminary decision and a plan of sorts. I'm not going to look at ANY properties until the spring - there's no point right now, I'll just make myself (and my husband) nuts. I'll focus on the indoors projects that will add up to a quicker sale on the house.

Let the adventure begin!

Laurel (who is already dreaming of lots of space for daylily gardens, and debating which daylilies to purchase after the move. . . .)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 10:06AM
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highjack(z6 KY)

Laurel it sounds like a great plan. I'm sure waiting for the spring season will actually give you better choices for future properties and for the sale of your property. Most people with children don't wish to uproot their children in the middle of a school year so there will probably be more choices come spring. Probably THE perfect place for you and your family.

While searching for more garden space, also look for the perfect space to grow seeds in the winter. It keeps you gardening all year if you watch green things grow in the dead of winter.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 11:25AM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

Hi Brooke,

Seed-starting space would be a definite plus! Right now I've got several window boxes full of daylily seedlings on the bright windowsills in the side room. I have room for a couple more boxes (and plenty of seeds), but that's not going to "do" for another year at this rate. I had TOO much fun crossing daylilies this year, and I can't see next year being any less fun (even if we DO have to move mid-season).

Thank goodness we home school - it really frees up when we can move, and the school district isn't that important as long as the superintendent is favorable toward home schoolers. The district we're in is GREAT about that, and we'd be happy to stay in this district if the right house comes along. Who knows?

Until then, I'll continue to make wish lists of daylilies. I've got quite a few on my list from Marietta and Daryl Apps' nursery, a couple from Mr. Herr's nursery in Lancaster PA, and Betty's Country Gardens, and I'm SURE I'll have more ideas from other great places, especially when I get the midwinter crazies. I'll have to make my main daylily order for the fall, though, unless we find a house earlier than we expect.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 3:18PM
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highjack(z6 KY)

Pots - they are called pots to house your spring purchases. Come the big move, just plop the plant into the ground without much disturbance of roots. You can even dig some of your pod parents and put them into pots - dab away - and take them with you with pods hanging on them. Don't let a little thing like moving your household somewhere else deter you from your destiny.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 6:01PM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

LOL - how did you know that I just found a stash of large nursery pots while cleaning out my car port, saved for just such an emergency?

LOL again - "my destiny" gives me creepy flashbacks to the Star Wars movies: "Luke, it is you DESSStiny!" But I think I've convinced my husband that I'm VERY serious about the need for a chunk of land to pursue this hobby/interest/passion/obsession/possible future business. And, he's all for it - hooray! A man with vision, yep, that's my wonderful husband (whose own destiny involves a seriously large musical instrument - a pipe organ - and a huge room to house it).


    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 7:46AM
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