Tuesday, October 19

Fall: the season for planting

The neighbor boy kept offering suggestions on how the dig.
He told me he could dig my hole in no time.
So as many of you may know, fall is the best time of year to plant trees. So on Saturday I visited Southwood Nursery looking for a tree for my back flower bed. I needed something that doesn't grow more than 10' tall and didn't cost too much. I found a "Kathy Ann Batson" Holly for $25.

This type of holly doesn't have poky leaves, but will hopefully stay green year-round. The man at Southwood was surprised when he read the description for my holly tree. Apparently a Kathy Ann's red berries bloom in the spring. Most hollies grow berries in the fall, so mine is unique!

Because of my poor planning, the first step to getting my tree planted was to move all the mulch from a few months ago out of the way. Once I did that I realized the dirt in my yard is about as hard as rock (and full of them). I added water to make it easier to dig.

When you dig a hole for a tree you make it deep enough for the tree, but also about twice as wide as the bucket the tree comes in. And when the dirt is hard, it is NOT fun to dig that much. That said, once the dirt softened to mud it wasn't too bad. It took maybe an hour to dig and less than five minutes to put the tree in and fill the hole back in. Ollie thought the project was very interesting though. Wish I had captured his reaction on video when I accidentally flung a shovelful of dirt his way.

Planting Tip
If you add banana peels to a new garden (or a hole where you're getting ready to plant something) the nutrients will help your plants thrive. My dad suggested a while back that I save banana peels for exactly that reason. So luckily I had several for this project. I put a few in the bottom of the hole then added more around the sides of the tree.
While my tree looks more like a bush for now, I'm hoping it grows quickly enough that I'll get to see it look more tree-ish. That was one thing the Southwood employee wasn't sure about. From what he said most hollies might grow 2-3 inches per year.

The Finished Product:
A Kathy Ann Batson Holly tree.
Grows roughly 8' tall and produces red berries in the spring.
I obviously intend to add other plants to this flowerbed as well. I'm thinking I'll plant some elephant ears, maybe another azalea and other shade-loving plants. Holly trees prefer sun, but the corner I planted it in seems to get sun for a good-portion of the day. Hoping it will be happy!

Does anyone have any suggestions for other plants I should consider planting? Remember, my yard is very shady!


  1. Hydrangea, Liriope, Hellebore.

  2. Thanks! I love hydrangeas, the other two I'll have to look up. :)

  3. Check out the Tulsa Master Gardners website - it's an absolutely wealth of information. Like trying to drink from a fire hydrant, but still, an amazing resource for free and at your fingertips. And they have lists of plants that work well in Oklahoma, and they're categorized by type (annual, perennial, tree, shrub, etc.), what type of soil is needed, what drainage, what sunlight level and more.

  4. I'll have to check that out. I so don't have a green thumb!

  5. I concur with the hydrangea idea. Those dudes are hardy! I have one that has been going strong for 14 years and measures about 10 feet across--yes, it is ONE plant!

    Two years ago we decided to start a compost project. We drilled 1 inch holes in the sides and bottom of some inexpensive outdoor plastic garbage cans. We put all our green kitchen waste (peels, egg shells, onion ends, coffee grounds and filters) in it, layer a bit of leaves, grass clippings, yard waste and some dirt from time to time, and make sure it gets some water. We made enough compost (just two of us) to build up four 4X4 and one 3X24 foot raised garden beds. You have to shovel it around a little bit every few weeks, but it is amazing what it does to the soil.

    This spring we put in some new plants in one of them and found earth worms 1/2 inch in diameter and as long as 12 inches! They LOVE coffee grounds and if you don't drink it, you can pick up bags of them for free from any Starbucks. You can even sprinkle them around the base of trees, shrubs and other flowers to help nourish the soil.

  6. I have a compost out back, but I don't drink coffee. I may have to look into getting grounds from one of the local coffee shops. I'm pretty good about putting other things out there and I've noticed some pretty impressive earthworms too!


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