So, today, I decided to "get out my green thumb" and replant something new in the two pots and transfer the healthy plant somewhere else in my garden. Sounds easy enough, right?
Surrounding the little shrubs were copious amounts of variegated ivy. Through the years these have grown and spread with now "woody" stems and roots. So, the first thing I attempted was to get these out of the pots. Not so easy...but, I finally managed to get these out of the one pot with the dead shrub.
Taking out the dead plant was a simple procedure since it was dry and crispy and it lifted right out. Getting the healthy one out intact was another story altogether. I fought with the ivy that surrounded it...all to no avail...(the ivy won) so, I finally just got the entire contents of the pot out--shrub, ivy, roots, dirt, etc. I refilled the pot with some fresh soil and voila! the new shrub went right in. I sprinkled a bit of fertilizer around it and began to water it...now feeling a bit smug at my accomplishment.
My smugness was short-lived....I still had the other shrub to plant. The dirt seemed fine in that pot, so I just added a bit of fresh soil at the top, put the shrub in and began to water it. Unfortunately, I noticed that the water wasn't draining and that the soil and the plant were floating around the top of the pot.
Remembering that the guy at the garden shop had asked me about the drainage, I decided that maybe this was the issue. So, I tried to tilt this very heavy, water-filled planter to make sure that the drainage hole at the bottom wasn't stopped up. It was.
I decided to remove all of the dirt and check out the situation at the bottom. Well, this thing holds a ton of dirt...and, the dirt was really more like MUD at this point...so, as you can imagine....I began to get covered in mud as I tried to empty it into another large container. There was mud everywhere including in my shoes that were now sloshing around as I walked.
When I got deeper into the pot, I realized that the dirt in the bottom half was pure thick mud and that was keeping the water from draining. So, I cracked an old clay pot and layered the shards at the bottom of the pot. Then I began to transfer the muddy dirt back into the bottom of the pot. At this point it was pretty much all over me...even splashing up into my face. I began to laugh hysterically...
Once the new dirt was back in place, I added some fresh aerated dirt and began to water. Again, it did not drain!
I decided to elevate the pots on some old tiles....tipped it a bit....and, as mud overflowed all over the porch....I finally got them in place.
I tried hosing down the whole mess that I had made and saw that the planter was trying to drain a little water at a time....and, it was mixed with mud. I decided to head back to the garden shop and purchase several more bags of good airy dirt and re-pot the whole thing....