A couple weeks shy of five-years-ago, we planted a tiny Bald Cypress tree in our front yard . At the time, i was dealing with a 'clay bowl' or ' bathtub effect' in the area (on a different tree), so we went beyond in terms of digging a 'five-dollar-hole'. Five years later, I can saw - without a doubt - that this Bald Cypress is the most successful tiny tree that we've had since we started here in Downers. Not only has the tree survived, it has put on A LOT of size. Height and width and even caliper . I last measured it a year ago when it was just about a 3.5" caliper tree. Today? I haven't done the caliper (yet), but by the eye-test? It has grown even bigger. See below for the current - late Summer state of our Bald Cypress that sits in-between-two-driveways. Having learned my lesson on pruning small trees, I've left this one alone totally. Not a prune. At least on our side. Turns out...when our neighbors built their new driveway, th
Showing posts with the label pruning
Adding evergreens was #1 on my 2023 list and I've put in a series of Boxwoods in the front and back. And those were added to the existing stands of Boxwoods around the garden. Most of them are small, but a few of them have grown in size and have a number of seasons growing. I also had a run with Hicks Yews the past few seasons, where I added quite a few of them around the backyard - starting all the way back in 2019 . I've TOTALLY left them unpruned to date. Why? Pruning evergreen shrubs and boxwoods in particular is an art. Something that I have little experience with as a gardener. I've *mostly* left my Boxwoods grow wild and shaggy - allowing them to put on some size. But... pruning shrubs as a 'seasonal project' on my 2023 to-do list . So, it was time to take a look at some of the evergreen shrubs. #22 on my 2022 to-do list was to 'upgrade my garden tools '. I did that a little bit by adding a Dutch push/pull hoe . I also did that by gett
With the days getting longer and me itching to get outside and work in the yard and garden - but recognizing that it is *still* too early to cleanup, I've been finding tasks that I *can* do. Now. Like...pruning shrubs. I posted about the hydrangeas up front that received a haircut . Today, I'm showing the before/after of the three Disneyland Roses on the southside of our house. First...(of course) is the 'before'. A series of three photos are below that run from west-to-east. The first is the smallest Disneyland Rose that is closest to our gate. The last one is the one closest to the front yard (the one by the gas meter). They all look the same. Naked and alone. In past years, I've done a light pruning of these floribunda roses. This year? I followed what I did with the Hydrangeas. And went ham. A few things to note in the photos below: First...the leaf litter. That's from their Winter protection. Second...there is *some* green. Third: I'
With the flip last week on Daylight Savings Time, it means that I now get a little bit of post-work garden time. It isn't dark when I close my laptop, so that's kinda nice. With the calendar being mid-March, I'm now trying to find garden tasks that I can take on while balancing the guidance of *not doing too much cleanup* too early. One of the tasks that I decided to do this past week was a look at some cleanup in the front yard - including pruning some of my hydrangeas. In past years, I have done what I'll call a 'light' pruning - lop'ing off the thin branching, but mostly leaving about 2/3rds of the shrub intact. After watching some YouTube videos and working up the courage to go at them pretty hard, I decided to give theses a harder prune this late Winter. First up, the pair of (larger) Limelight Hydrangeas on the side of our front porch. Here's what they look like right before pruning - all of the flower heads still attached (photo below) with
As part of our initial startup landscaping installation, w e put in five Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas across the front of our house . Four in front of the porch - behind the inital boxwood row - and one over on the side of the garage - the corner where the garage meets the driveway and sideyard. I've posted about them over the years , but I don't think they've ever managed to reach their peak color-wise like they have this year. Or...rather...like the ONE by the garage has this year. The other four have all struggled. Because of the Norway Maple tree. Of the four, one of them has died. The Hydrangea by the garage? It is putting on quite a show: But, the blooms are falling over. One of my 2023 to-do items needs to be learning how to prune hydrangeas so they stand upright and stop flopping over . I also need to replace the one that died up front. With the tree being removed, the time is right bring these to their full potential.
I planted a trio of Cat's Pajamas Nepeta (along with some Blue Fescue) out front in the bed IB2DWs this Spring and it was the FIRST Nepeta that I've planted. One of the features of Nepeta is that it can take a haircut after the first bloom - to both push a second flush of flowers but also to keep the plant neat and tidy. In the online gardening world, you'll hear people talk about the ' Chelsea Chop ' - where you prune things back in late May to get that second flush. More here on the Chelsea Chop . I went ahead and pruned back these three Nepeta. You can see that in the photo below showing the three pruned and cleaned up along with the pile of plant material that I pruned out laying in the middle of the photo - to show how much I took off these perennials. From a purely technical perspective, you might be wondering: Is this a " Chelsea Chop "? The answer? Maybe? But, probably...Not really. I think the goal of that move is to delay blooming.
One of the projects in the backyard that I've been eying since we arrived home from vacation is to clean up and shape the boxwoods that we have close to our patio in back. They're pretty shaggy right now and have grown together a bit after being in the ground for four growing seasons. You can see their current state as shaggy boxwoods below: A little history - these were planted in 2018. And I pruned them for the first time in Spring of 2019 . I haven't touched them since. Why? Because I found some inspiration both on the Web and in person. First... these Jacques Wirtz cloud hedges that have grown together and are shaped in one big mass. And then this mass of boxwoods that are in Memphis at the FedEx Worldwide Headquarters . The Fall of 2019, they started to put on some size . And a year later - Fall 2020 - they had grown even closer together . It seems that the time has come to shape these, but (right now), I don't have shears. Seems there are a couple
This post serves as the final 'tree planting' post for the year, but also lays out a little bit of the self-education process I've been through in terms of ornamental tree pruning over the past few weeks. I'm learning (everyday!) that there are many types of pruning - and I've tried one of them: espalier. But, in addition to espalier, there's also pollarding, pleaching and topping. The espalier I've done includes some horizontal cordon work on a pair of Greenspire Linden trees . After four growing seasons, they're starting to come into their final form and I love them. And more recently, set up a new pair of crab apple trees with a TBD form . I've been exploring the other pruning methods to figure out if I should try to learn and get to know them. What I've settled on is trying my hand at pleaching. The first time i talked about pleaching was back in 2018 here when I was discussing trees . At the time, I was using pleaching and espalier int
When I planted the small Weeping White Spruce in our backyard in 2019 , I noticed at the time that the tree had a sort of dual-leader-thing going on. I think that's pretty common for young trees that are shipped to retailers: tree nurseries are likely keeping small trees with ONE STRONG leader in the ground at their nursery because those trees have the strongest likelihood of growing big, tall and straight. So, we see a lot of trees that have double leaders. Despite noticing it, I didn't do anything about it. My habits in terms of tree pruning have changed A LOT in the past four years. How so? Well, I was taught by my Dad to limb-up trees. You want them to grow big and tall, so any energy that they dedicate to the bottom is wasted. And, I did that. Making a bunch of immature trees almost lollipop-looking. And I lost some. And decided to take a step back and NOT prune trees very much. This Weeping White Spruce has been the benefactor of that new practice. I too
We have a pair of Limelight Hydrangeas that are set just to the south of the front edge of our front porch. They're kind of tucked on the side of the house - right at the 'wrap-around' section of the 'wrap around porch'. They've done remarkably well - better than other hydrangeas we have right in front of the porch. They throw off A LOT of green during the Summer. Here's what they looked like in July of 2020 . And what they looked like in the previous October showing off all the blooms drying out . I've always been confused about pruning hydrangeas. Do they bloom on new wood? Old wood? Do you prune them to the ground? Do you prune them back to buds? Two buds? Last year, I confirmed (to myself) that Limelight Hydrangeas bloom on 'new wood' . Which means, I can prune them back pretty hard and they'll still flower. Here's what they looked like last Spring after a prune and recovered with new green growth . You can see that I
About a month ago, I decided to take a dwarf umbrella plant that was mostly forgotten about upstairs in our spare bedroom and transplant it to a different container . The goal was to straighten it out - and get it standing straight up in the air. But, also to try to compel some new growth through some top pruning. It wasn't long before that initial care that one or two tiny buds began to pop from the trunk . But, they didn't take off. Checking back in this week - about a month from that initial top prune - and you can see (below) that the tree is showing some new top growth right at the point of cutting. There are a couple of smaller branches growing and the light green, larger branch: As for the trunk buds, they're continuing to exist, but not breaking much in terms of throwing off new branches. You can see one of them on the left side of the trunk below: That one (and another one) appeared right after I did that initial top prune. So...you're thinking the same
Along with the fern and wire vine, we had a dwarf umbrella plant (schefflera) that had been languishing upstairs in our guest bedroom for the better part of the past six months. It was stuck and growing at an odd angle, was very top-heavy and had a very tall, thin and bare trunk. We have another one of these plants that I've been tending to over the past year or so with top-cuts to encourage it to grow out more bush-y. It has responded to each of those pruning exercises. So, I thought that if I repotted the troubled plant to straighten it out and give it a little top-prune, we might have something. And, so far - about a week in - it seems to be ok. Here's how it looks now - on our mantle: It is now standing up straight (instead of off at an odd angle) and I cut the leader/apical meristem off about half-an-inch from where the die-back settles. I'm hoping that we'll see even more growth coming out of this thing starting with the current crown and down the trunk.
My 2020 to-do list for the yard included this item in #8: "Find cheap fruit trees (that include pollinators) and plant a Belgian Fence (somewhere)." Welp, I found eight apple trees at the same Home Depot tree sale last week and brought them home to start a Belgian Fence. Here's a look at some of them below. I have documented the Belgian Fences that we came across in Disneyland over the years. Here's the first one that caught my attention on a trip . And here's another from a different trip . I ended up picking apple trees for this because they had the right amount of them and had a variety that I was most keen to get: Honeycrisp. One of the things that I've picked up while researching the Belgian Fence was to learn that it is best to select two varieties of apple trees that are 'pollinators'. In a look at the list for Honeycrisp apples , one of the selected pollinators is Yellow/Golden Delicious. They are cross-pollinators
It took a little bit over a year , but I now have this folding pruning saw in my yard and garden toolset. Last March, I shared a photo of a Fiskars folding pruning saw that I saw at Walmart and realized that I could put it to good use. We have plenty of limbs that fall from the trees in our yard that are too big to 'crack' but too small to pile up and process with a more formal saw. Couple that dynamic with the fact that I don't own a chainsaw and you'll start to understand how I could use this saw. Look at the pile of limbs from that large downed Oak limb in this post for the type of cuts that I'd use this saw for in our yard. Here's a look at the saw below - out of the package: The back of the package includes an interesting nugget in terms of what this saw is applicable for: wood, plastic and BONE (up to 4"). Bone, people! I haven't been great about keeping all my garden tools in one spot - in a way that makes them easy to tu
We have a front yard Saucer Magnolia tree that was planted in the Summer of 2017 by our landscaper that has been with us since we moved into our new house. The first time that I posted about this Saucer Magnolia was when I shared a photo of the tree in early August 2017 and talked about how I had 'limb'ed up' the tree to remove some of the lower branching and some newly emerging trunks from the base. Our tree is multi-trunked (or multi-stemmed and/or multiple trunks) and at the time I was deciding to remove some of the stems/trunks that were shooting out sideways. By September of 2017, it seemed that the tree had survived the Summer transplant (but...look at the lawn! yikes!) and was showing plenty of green leaves. The following February (2018), I did my first Winter check-in on the tree where it was showing off some buds that it had set the previous (first) Fall. And by May of 2018, the tree put on a show: flowers . I didn't include photos of the tree