Gardening with half wine barrels and transplanting trees

/ 25.4.16

As we continue to work on the drawings for our house renovation and get quotes from builders, I've started thinking about timeframes. Our front yard has a very established garden with some lovely little trees in it. Some of them will end up getting demolished when a builder clears the space for the extensions to the front of the house. Add to this that we are aiming to end up with a u-shaped house with a courtyard inside it and I decided I could save money by gradually transplanting some of the smaller trees to use after the renovation in the new courtyard. At least, I've got nothing to lose.

As the soil is still warm and weather is finally cooling off, this is my gardening plan for the remainder of autumn:

1. Transplant any photinias that would otherwise get demolished to fill the gaps in the photinia hedge at the very front of the block.
2. Transplant agapanthus that would otherwise get demolished to underplant the photinia hedge from the front, like a collar. Consider planting a long row of olive trees to contrast against the photinia hedge.
3. Transplant the dwarf orange tree, kaffir lime tree and a baby olive tree into half wine barrels. I'll be digging down 1/4 of the way around each of these little trees each week. So that after 4 weeks I should be able to move them without them going into massive shock. Doing it gradually means that even though I am cutting their big roots, they are getting time to send out little roots before I move them. I am also removing any fruit from them and pruning them back so that they do not have too many other challenges.

We bought 4 half wine barrels from Stonehenge Beltana at Pialligo and I love them so much. Apart from the fact that they are all purple inside and smell like wine, they are also made from beautiful American oak. 

They've got me thinking also about Japanese bath tubs, like Bette Midler's, and how beautiful they are too. It has been so warm here that we briefly thought to put water in the barrels we bought and plop the kids in, but they have big gaps (not sure how they held wine) and the water would be all wine coloured so probably very pleasant for an adult but not for a kid!

I've seen a lot of people gardening with wine barrels and I think the approach to planting in them has to be something similar to choosing a lampshade for a lamp base: the diameter of the plant canopy and the wine barrel needs to echo each other. 

I'll be preparing the wine barrels by drilling 5 largish drainage holes in the bases then spraying them with apple cider vinegar to kill off any fungal things that might distress the plants we put in them.

So fingers crossed that all these plants that I planted over the years - some heavily pregnant in the winter - survive the transplant!

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