One Abutilon in a standard one gallon pot* [Double-pink or any lettuce-leafy type ornamental that snails are partial to.]
Soil amendment [3 cubic foot bag, more or less, depending on your soil…]
Organic All Purpose Fertilizer
Watering can or hose
Persistence [More than you believe you are capable of.]
Steel-toed boots [If you have them. If not, read all directions carefully.]
[*I had to learn the hard way. No matter how stunning a specimen plant might be, if it’s in a five gallon pot, I run. I run far and fast.]
[**If the shovel isn’t sufficient for the task, feel free to improvise with a pick axe, jack hammer or backhoe.]
Choose a prime focal point in the garden. Consider all the viewing angles. Pick up your shovel and attempt to dig a hole two and a half times as large as the one gallon container.
Keep digging. No matter how impossible it seems. Pull out any rocks or boulders and set them aside. They’ll come in handy later.
Just. Keep. Digging.
Now depending on how much actual soil was displaced by the aforementioned underground Stonehenge, add a sufficient amount of amendment to amend whatever soil remains. Mix in some fertilizer and a few choice words [under your breath, just in case the neighbors or The Grand are within earshot]. If you’re wearing steel-toed gardening boots, it’s okay to kick the stones where they live. Otherwise, limit yourself to cussing…
Now comes the fun part. Encourage the root-bound Abutilon to leave its snug nursery pot by promising it a better home in the lovely hole that you just spent a whole day laboring over. Reassure it that all the nasty root-blocking boulders are gone. Gently massage the knotted-up roots [a previous post covered the whispering and sweet-talking, but never underestimate a good massage…]
Carefully set the slightly traumatized flowering maple at proper planting depth, and fill in and pat the amended soil carefully around its base. Water deeply.
If you’re wearing proper boots, it’s okay to kick the stones again, just to show them who’s boss.
Then lob, heave or catapult them into the wheelbarrow and take them to whichever corner of the yard is your designated root-blocking boulder dumping ground. [Remember. They’ll come in handy later.]
Now sit back and wait.
The lady at the nursery promised lovely double-pink blooms. Masses of them.
It’s okay to water the Abutilon and give it an occasional pep-talk, but don’t hover. Plants hate that.
Just be patient.
And whatever you do, don’t scream.
For there may come the morning when you go out to water and pep-talk in your very best bathrobe and fuzziest slippers, hair slightly pillow-matted and askew, before you’ve even had your morning cup-of-fair-trade-shade-grown-sustainable-caffeinated-sunshine which generally, most times, lends itself to a smile and a civil tongue, but then you notice that someone or something has stripped most of the leaves off…
…and I assure you, if you scream, most First-Responders, even your nearest and dearest, are likely to think the emergency has nothing whatsoever to do with a stripped-naked Abutilon…
Don’t bother pointing out the raccoon tracks leading away from the crime scene. Don’t bother explaining that the beastly critters ordered lettuce-wrapped snails and as it turns out they don’t actually like lettuce. They just ripped the leaves off of your prized plant and then left them strewn about the garden like so much yard-waste.
And whatever you do, don’t invite the First-Responders to a feast of barbecued raccoon.
It’s frowned upon.
After all, there are other avocations.
Perhaps you’ll have better luck knitting.
Now go apologize to the boulders for kicking them.
Use the biggest of them to block any gaps under the fence.
This won’t stop the raccoons, but it will make you feel better.
In a month or so, you might even stop devising recipes…
for gamey, gristly, barbecued leaf-bandits…
In favor of lettuce-wrapped