Friday, March 27, 2009

Pruning, Containers and Guerillas

Pruning Mission Accomplished
Last weekend, Miss A stopped by our lot to help me with some pruning. After doing the research on butterfly bushes, I took a crack at trimming ours by myself. I think it turned out okay. Here are some “before” and “after” shots.

However, when it came to pruning the dappled willow and a few other multi-stem shrubs, I called Miss A. She has much more experience under her belt with gardening than I do. She patiently walked me through the process, answering my constant questions. Even my cringes when the little handsaw came out were politely tolerated.

Here’s what I learned.
  • Keep up on your pruning! Growth neglected last year gave us some difficulty this year. Plus, constant upkeep gives more control over the shaping of the tree or shrub.
  • Remove older canes near the base. This was important on the dappled willow since the new canes are usually the shoots that have the prettier, dappled leaves and red bark. In most instances, removing the older canes will lower the overall height of the shrub. Plus, it will thin out the interior of the shrub, allowing more light in and encouraging new growth.
  • Afterward, we inspected how the branches of the shrub were growing. In some areas, the branches had crossed. This leads to the branches rubbing together, opening wounds and possibly introducing disease to the shrub. So, I had a few hard choices to make about which branches would stay and which branches would go.
  • The next step allows more fine-tuning of the shrubs height and shape. Miss A and I clipped off any winter damage we found and any longer branches seeming out of place. She said this is also the point we could lower the shrub further in height if desired.
  • Overall, when pruning a shrub, be sure the cuts are at an angle. The cut should be made between the length of the branch to be removed and the “collar” area where the branch meets the shrub. This area will allow for the cut to properly heal.
Bulbs Sprouting Indoors
Remember the bulbs I had forgotten about and tossed in some containers? Here’s an update.

Three of the five containers have healthy bulbs growing in them. As my better half commented of the other two, “if these haven’t shown activity yet, I’m not sure we’ll be seeing anything from them.” I think I may be leaning toward agreeing with him, though I think I’ll give the containers a bit more time. After all, I’m not in need of the pots right now anyway.

Notes for This Fall
This picture is from Miss A’s cottage garden. My better half expressed genuine affection toward these little guys. Note to self: order snowdrops for next spring.

Guerilla What?!
This is just fantastic. I’ll be looking around on the community boards to see if there is a chapter near us.

Crocus-time Continues
Hoorah! We also have purple AND white in the sidewalk bed.

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