How Are Yew?

So, I have this problem.

(Well, I have many problems, honestly. But here is one of the problems I have today.)

I have gardens. I have issues with my gardens. They’re never quite right. This is a combination of bad planning (whoops), bad soil and drainage (what a surprise) and bad location (next to Where The Wild Things Are, Who Come And Eat What You Plant). But despite this, every year, I start out optimistically buying and planting, weeding and trimming, until it begins to a) become tedious or 2) go horribly terribly wrong, and I lose interest.

Fortunately that is followed quickly by Fall, so… problem solved for another year.

Anyway. In my fit of optimism, one June day I went out to buy some plants. Being cheap, I bought only a few things. But the planting season was drawing to a close, so there were many discounted plants and shrubs.

And there, on a flat of shrubbery, was where I met Yew.

For five dollars, there was a shrub that called out to me. It was Yew. I knew Yew would be a great addition to our gardens. I had vague ideas that perhaps Yew would be good in the Far Back Reaches of the Far Back-est Garden, where he could help keep the weeds down, and provide a warm place for the birds in winter, and probably, when he got big enough, be something for the deer to munch on when things got desperate.

So that sunny June day, I bought Yew home, and I put him on the porch with the other little plants I had purchased.

And there Yew sat. And sat. And sat.

All the flowers and vegetables were planted, and yet Yew sat in his little pot, waiting patiently for a home. And although I watered him regularly, I could never get motivated enough to go out there, into the Far Back Reaches of the Far Back-est Garden, with a shovel and gloves to do battle with the horrible clay soil and rocks and weeds.

And then, it was September. I knew I had to get him into the soil early, so he had a chance to settle in before the ground got too cold. Except the weather didn’t cooperate, and it got cold and wet almost immediately.

And still, Yew waited for me.

And now? It is November. It is too cold to plant Yew anywhere. And I am afraid that, in his little pot, if I leave him out on the patio, his roots will freeze and he will die.

So, what am I going to do with Yew?

I have a couple of choices. I could just let him take his chances on the patio. But I have grown attached to Yew, and I hate the thought that Yew will die because of my neglect.

I could buy a big plastic pot, fill it with dirt, and plant him there. He could sit on the patio, wintering over as evergreens do, but the stone south-facing patio plus the insulation of a big pot full of dirt might help him endure the cold until springtime.

Or, I could do the big plastic pot thing, but bring him inside for the winter. Yew would be warm, but it will also be dry and dark-ish in the house, and I have not been terribly successful because of this when I have tried to bring plants inside over the winter. Plus we have cats, and cats love dirt, and that means my choice of location for Yew would be limited indeed.

So I bring the question to you, my all-knowing peeps: What am I going to do with Yew?

8 thoughts on “How Are Yew?

  1. How about a compromise?

    Dig a hole and stick Yew (pot and all) in it. The ground should help with the whole thermal-mass thing, and still being in the pot should help with the root shock.
    This way you can stick him in a sheltered spot over the winter, and move him to his permanent home in spring. Waddaya think?

  2. Yep, what Jade said. Just sink the pot, he’ll be fine. 🙂 Throw some leaf mulch over him if you want to get extra protective.

  3. I have done this and it works. I saw them do the same thing at Blomidon Nursery’s in the valley.

  4. I agree with everyone, and would add that perhaps, along with the mulch, you could also wrap him in burlap. This might save him from hungry bunnies (I lost a blueberry bush to bunnies – it was so small, and every spring they would nip off the end of the branches, so it only ever fruited (or got leaves) the one year). Bunnies are jerks.

  5. So, what all y’all are saying is that I can just plonk him in his wee pot in, say, my veggie garden, with a nice little insulating blankie of leaves in there, and he’ll be fine until spring? And then I can dig him up and take him out of his pot and plant him properly?

    Because that looks like the easiest option at the moment. And easy is my middle name. (Actually no, it’s not. It’s Danger — Danger is my middle name. Actually no, that’s not it either. It’s Elizabeth.)

  6. As the official, and resident Horticulturalist, I third, or is it fourth, the motion to plonk Yew in the veggie garden, pot and all, nice and deep, with a covering of leaves or burlap. Yew should be fine till spring…

  7. Alrighty, he’s in our vegetable garden, a little tilty maybe, but in about 2 inches over the rim of his pot. I don’t have any burlap to cover him up, but I could maybe get some, and he’s so tiny I could probably rig something up with a tomato cage.

    Thanks, all. Yew thanks you too. I’ll keep you posted if Yew survives the winter.

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