Other WelchWrite Blogs: My Word with Douglas E. Welch Career Opportunities


Home -- Contact Me -- Search Welchwrite.com -- Subscribe to AGN
Join the AGN Mailing List!


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Pruning pines prudently

Got the itch to work a little more tonight. I tackled the pruning on 2 of small pines up front. This time I got pictures of before and after. The first is an un-pruned tree and the second is a smaller tree that has already gotten its haircut.







I really like the sculptural element of the trunk with the foliage in a sort of "ball and stick" along it. The pruning seems dramatic now, but in a few weeks they will settle back into a less stark look. These pruning seem to last at least a year before I have to re-do them.


It feels quite artistic to look at each limb, note which was it is twisting and which way I want it go go next. It is almost like painting for me. I tend to get lost in it until my pruning hand or back starts to hurt.


I have about 6 more to do in the front garden, but some of those are less overgrown. I guess they receive less light and grow more slowly.


It feels good to get back in the garden. I am finding my old sense of enjoyment in cleaning up after Winter and looking forward to the Summer on its way.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Time, energy and the right job

It is a rare gift these days when I can get all three of these items into alignment and actually get something done in the garden (I almost wrote "...in the office). Something always seems to be taking me away or draining my energy to such an extent that even sitting in the garden seems a chore. This is really just a trick of the mind, though. If I take the time to relax and let go of the day-to-day cares, the garden finds a way in.


These evening I wandered out to the back garden and noticed a few small things that good be cleaned up. The un-killable Sickle-thorn fern had sent out new, large shoots well above the rest of the plant. The fern is aptly named. It has these small but exceedingly sharp thorns. I wonder if it would be of any use against deer? In the past I have cut this plant back to the ground and yet it still returns. I suppose I would have to dig up the roots to truly get rid of it.


Our 9-year-old rosemary bush is doing well, even in the partial shade, but it needed a haircut. It has grown large enough now, so I performed a bit of topiary on it, forming it into a serviceable ball. My son thought it looked near, so that is praise enough. (SMILE)


Finally, I started my pruning of the small pine trees that dot the garden, front and back. I am training these into a semi-Japanese-style, treating them almost like an overs-sized bonsai. I trim the branches so that the limbs bend this way and that, creating twists and gnarls over time. After 9 years, I am actually starting to see some interesting results. Only about 6 more to go now. I shouldn't wait any longer to do this job, though. As temperatures rise, the trees release more and more sap with each cut and it can turn in quite a messy operation.


Finally, I trimmed a few, small dead branches off of the Japanese maple. It looks as if a few were damaged with all the wind and rain we have had this year. Nothing serious, though, just a bit of tidying up.


I am amazed at how large the trees have grown since we moved in 9 years ago. It is only over time that you can appreciate the growth. Even then, you don't notice it all the time, just when something catches your eye, like the wire that has become totally engulfed by the trunk or the way the locust tree now covers nearly the entire area of the roof, when before, it barely reached above the patio awning.


We are preparing again for our usual Summer garden party, with people playing music, kids running about and a gathering of good friends. It is time to pick up the pace a bit, but today was a good start.