Monday, January 19, 2015
I think next to getting people to really understand the importance of the role the soil plays in gardening, pruning is the most difficult skill for a gardener to master. There really is no pruning 101 in my opinion, because each case is a little bit different depending on the plant, the position of the plant, the climate, and even the taste of the gardener. Of course different types of plants have different pruning requirements. If you prune a shrub that blooms in the spring heavily in the late winter, you will remove all the dormant buds and you won't get any flowers that year. On the other hand, if you don't prune some plants at all, you may not stimulate them to bloom much at all the following year. A good gardener knows which plants respond best to a severe cut back right before they start to grow in the new year to maintain their shape, while others are best handled with a little bit taken off here and a little bit taken off there to encourage a pleasing profile. Unfortunately, there are too many gardening maintenance people in the business that have not learned the art of pruning and it shows in sad looking landscapes throughout our neighborhoods. I often cringe at what my garden helper has done in the name of "cleaning up" the garden by severe cut backs when a gentle removal of a few branches would have been fine. Most of the time, less is more in my opinion. But these days I am just too busy too do all the maintenance by myself and so I really need to spend more time with him showing him what my expectations are for my garden since I have now figured out that he is not going to spend hours pouring over gardening books and magazines in his spare time like I do learning techniques and how to handle every kind of plant to make sure it is carefully pruned and managed to optimize its beauty in the garden. That is going to be a goal this year.