Can I get outside and get my non-calloused hands in the friggin dirt already? With the official first day of spring here, I should have so much more done by now. Every ornamental grass should be cut down. The perennials should be cleaned up with their new growth exposed. The trees should be pruned. The plants that wussed out and didn’t survive the winter should be enjoying their new home on the compost pile. But we ain’t even close to that right now. Not by a long shot.
Now having said all that, I am still remaining patient. I believe the term you all may use is “maturing”. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was my early spring garden. The truth is, the soil is still so wet and I am not about to compact my compacted soil any further. As much as I want to put on my shit-kicking boots and garden away, we must wait.
But that doesn’t mean we cannot plan. I’ve told you before about my detailed plant spreadsheet but did you know that there is a column dedicated to spring tasks associated with each plant? And I log what I ended up doing each spring, going back five years now? Yes, I am aware of how awesome I am and I appreciate your praise. We can’t all be this organized and on top of things. You just have to accept it and move on.
So as I navigated the garden with pen and paper in tow (I can still kick it old school), here are some of the things I noted for future efforts or just simply noted or even noted in anger.
My four year old Malus (Crabapple) ‘Prairie Fire’ has never been touched beyond the removal of some suckers at the base and dead wood when I remembered to notice it. Well now I am ready to prune it a bit to aid in its development.
As you can see, it could use some shaping but I don’t want to prune it just for the sake of pruning. I’ve done my research though and I think I am ready to take the plunge. Now is the time to do so before it blooms and leafs out. There are quite a few crossing branches that can be cut out.
And also a few branches that are now growing back towards the center of the tree.
More to come after John Scissorhands chops away. Did I mention how phenomenal the blooms are come the end of April?
I’ve been disappointed to date with the growth and habit of my Amelanchier (Serviceberry) ‘Autumn Brilliance’ and my gut tells me to take action with a pruner. For now however, we are ignoring said gut and leaving this alone for another year.
This Viburnum ‘Shoshoni’ is dangerously close to outgrowing its spot along the front of my home but I’ve managed to trim it enough “post bloom” to keep it in bounds. I have considered a severe pruning to really address the potential spacing issue but again, will continue with the light shearing and enjoy an actual shrub that is happily thriving in my garden.
Just a minute to salute this Viburnum ‘Emerald Lustre’ and the fact that the deer have never touched it and I can let it grow to its heart content. No pruning required here.
Me like berries and would never mess with that.
I so love the Redtwig dogwood (this is ‘Arctic Fire’) in winter so I will be selectively pruning this one to aid in the production of young red stems for next fall/winter.
You are looking at a suckering Clethra and I’m not quite sure if that is a good or bad thing yet. I welcome the spreading but need to keep an eye on it to see if it affects the overall growth of the mother plant.
Time to remove the Holly ‘Blue Princess’ from the spreadsheet as she got her ass kicked this winter. And yes, this is not a deciduous Holly.
I am in the process of writing a new garden song entitled “The day the arborvitaes died” as I have close to ten of these that are in need of removal. I never really took to them anyway but they filled space and that can’t be underestimated.
I played around with some experimental pruning with Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ a few years ago and this is the one I’ve never touched. Pruning to the ground worked well on another with its new flush of wine colored foliage and it is now residing in a container on my deck (long story). I think I may allow this to bloom in the late spring and then I will cut it back severely.
This is what happens when you desperately throw a boxwood in a container in December.
This is what happens when you … actually I have no idea what happened to this unfortunate boxwood.
Since this Physocarpus (Ninebark) is on my deck and away from the soggy soil, I went to town and cut it back to a few inches. Hopefully the newly emerging foliage will be vibrant and light up this container.
Some other parts of the garden are completely inaccessible at this time so there is more evaluating to come. And yes, I will soon share my “plant spreadsheet of the gods” with you all but not the machinations that are behind it. That is for a future episode of Shark Tank.