Tuesday, June 27, 2017


This will go down in my gardening history as the year I pruned. It wouldn't take much for anyone visiting my garden to see that pruning is not high on my list of gardening skills. Pruning usually comes as a last desperate measure to deal with the unruly growth about to swallow the whole garden. The first to be pruned was the Rosa Zephirine drouhin in the front courtyard.

This is a last ditch effort on my part to save this rose. It was in terrible shape with mostly old wood that had become unproductive. All kinds of errant shoots were interfering with our sitting comfortably in this area. At the same time the wire supports along the wall were sagging and looking quite unsightly. I came across the idea of replacing the wire with wood at East Ruston Old Vicarage and thought it would look well on this wall, the lines playing off the over head beams to the left. A quick word with David and no sooner said than done. The rose liked it too because it has sent out all manner of new shoots with a promise of a better flowering next year.
The 1x2" boards are offset from the wall using a piece of cut sprinkler pipe. That gives me enough room to tie in the canes and and provide breathing space behind. I am looking forward to a floriferous rose next year.

Pruning job number 2 was a much bigger job. It involved the pyracantha in the herb garden. If only I had pruned it annually keeping its growth tight against the wall.

When a job becomes a repetitive nightmare then you know it is time to do something. The pyracantha had just become a wall of solid, thick green growth with the need to constantly prune. A couple of times in the past the weight had caused it to fall off the wall. The job of climbing the extension ladder to deal with the top growth always fell to David. Then this spring, on the Master Gardeners' tour I learnt a better look for a pyracantha. It may take some time for mine to look like this but I think I will get there in the end.

It took over a week of work to get it to look like this. Up and down the ladder deciding which branches should be cut back. I did all the lower work unaided but needed David to prune out the top section, as I told him which branch he could cut. I am pleased with the result and hope that in time I will get it all pruned back to hug the wall. Already it has sent out new shoots and I have been cutting back all the new growth. I think the mocking bird will not be happy as this is his winter hangout.

And if it doesn't work I can always start over. In the meantime that wall needs a good cleaning.


  1. I do like your plan for the Pyracantha-it looks elegant. Much nicer than what those mow-blow guys do to them !

    1. I can't imagine leaving any pruning job to the mbg guys. I once saw them cutting down an agave bloom just as it was getting started. They thought it would save the plant.

  2. The board support for your Zephirine drouhin is very handsome and the way you've tied the canes is beautiful. Love the pyracantha idea. When you prune, you sure do a great job!

  3. Excellent work! Both plants look tremendous. I have to get up considerable energy to dig into pruning myself but I shan't be taking on any major jobs of that nature until summer is behind us.

  4. Your garden looks great. The tuffty plants in between gravel and blocks of stone--love the look. The parallel lines of the rose supports echoing the beams to the left: just right!

  5. The pyracantha already looks great!

  6. I would have never guessed you didn't prune much, I figured it was just skill in not over-pruning! Good job!! I bet it will look great from inside with AC as your humidity builds.

  7. Now that was a major pruning job!

    I know what you mean about not being good about pruning. I hate cutting things back; always wondering if I'm on the way to killing the plant...like Denny did in January when he decapitated my Hummingbird sage, thinking it was Esperanza.

  8. I love the wood against the wall as support for the rose. Such a nice idea! The pyracantha looks quite nice pruned like that. I'm always afraid I will overprune once I get going with the shears (which isn't often enough either.)