I'm happy to say that the hole digging went faster today. I learned the holes for the two little ones I still needed to put into the new bed by the front steps don't have to be as deep as for the bigger varieties. And the remaining, larger, specimen was going into the front border, where it turned out that the previous owners' landscaper, even if incompetent as to the selection, spacing, and positioning of plants, had taken out the sandy soil to a depth of about 16" and replaced it with topsoil. So the roundy rocks were few and far between, and all it needed was a few handfuls of perlite to lighten things up a bit.
What I don't get, however, is what they tell you about watering shrubs in. The soil was workable enough when I was mixing it (though I admit, I forgot to do the squeeze test). I did what they tell you about dumping water over the loosened-up and modified soil in the hole and letting it drain. Then I watered the shrubbies again after I popped them into the ground, as they say to do. Not a lot, because the little plants seemed wet enough already. Ground around them was going splooshy, splooshy, squelch! Like some kind of a bog or something.
(Don't tell me: I'm supposed to let the hole drain for a day and a half before putting the plants in? Or if it doesn't drain in fifteen minutes, I'm supposed to take all the soil out again and replace it with 100% perlite?)
But it was starting to rain. And hail. And the temperature was dropping. And is supposed to continue dropping this weekend. And I wanted to get these shrubs in the ground, because if I don't do it now, I'm liable to forget about them till sometime next June.
So I took the gamble and planted them, squelchy planting holes or no. I guess I'll see if I rolled the dice correctly in the spring.
And if they don't grow, at least the holes are there, and I'll try again.