Transplanting in a Garden Re-Do
I inherited garden space at my apartment that hasn't been attended to in ages. I'm planning on tilling up my stone-filled "hell" and amending the soil. My question is should I dig up the few plants (namely, rue, lilac, basil, and hollyhocks)that thrived and till the whole bed, or till around them?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The existing plants, especially if they are well established, will stand a better chance of survival and revival if left in place. But it is sometimes difficult and time consuming to work around established plantings with soil improvements.
If it is nice, large lilac bush, I would keep it, but the others are easily replaced if you don't want to bother transplanting them.
If you decide to remove and temporarily store the existing plants, dig them with as much soil root ball as possible. Keep that root ball intact with burlap wrapping or by placing them in pots with soil backfill. Keep the soil moist and the plants in the shade through the process. If removing and replanting, spring will be a better time to do this.