Harvesting Perennials From Neighboring TearDown

That pile of stuff in the photo above might not look like much, but it potentially is a bountiful harvest from down the block.  There's a family that is tearing down a house four doors to the south of us and the lot had a decent perennial garden.  So, the new owners put out a note to the neighbors to 'come and dig' what you want/can out of the yard before the heavy equipment rolls in and everything is tossed.  

I went over there with my spade shovel and this blue trug and found a half dozen variegated hostas, a few what I think are going to be ostrich ferns, and a hydrangea bush.  Dug them out, walked them home and put them in the #newoldbackyard with some water to give them a chance to survive.  

Back in Elmhurst, I did the same thing a few times when homes were being torn down in our neighborhood.  On one occasion, I grabbed a few peony plants and irises and one other time when a house across the alley from Equation Boy/Man's house was being torn down, I grabbed a big clump of Alliums.  We, obviously, left those behind but maybe I can talk to my sister about grabbing the allium back?  And, remember...we have foster plants in Naperville, too!

I mentioned back in September that we were having a few firms come out and give us an estimate on the entrance to our yard and one of them went even further and gave us the full backyard landscape plan.  I'll post some images of the full yard plan at some point, but importantly...on that plan there were spots for hostas and hydrangeas.  So, I had the blueprint of where to put them already, which was nice.  

A new issue arose, however, in regards to the soil quality.  At our old place in Elmhurst, we had the best soil.  You could basically put your shovel in anywhere and you'd turn over black gold.  Now?  We're packed with clay.  I'm guessing that has everything to do with the beds that I'm digging in are adjacent to the new house we built and they likely backfilled with clay from digging the foundation out, right?  I've read a few pieces about amending the soil so it seems like next spring we might have to bring in load of mushroom compost and rent a tiller to see if we can improve the conditions.  Going to be a big project, but one that seems like the right long-term approach to improving our ability to plant the right set of plants.


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