Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spring Pruning

Late Springtime Shrubbery

Our still very wintry garden has been pruned to within an inch of its life. Actually, that isn't strictly true, and the wonderful local gardener who has done the work has made a fine job of it. But it won't really look right till the leaves start to come through - by which time everything will grow at such a rate that you won't be able to see exactly where the cutting has taken place.

We have a lot of mature shrubs and trees in our cottage garden, and there comes a time, every few years, when you really have to chop most things back a bit, otherwise no light gets in, leaves choke everything and nothing does very well.

At the same time, we're always very aware of the small birds at this time of the year, and their need for shelter, so when we arranged for the pruning, we left lots and lots of cover lower down, as well as feeding them with a good mixture of small seeds and other things in what I see Dobbie's Garden Centre is calling a 'Bird Abode' presumably a more up-market version of a Bird House.

All this, though, has lead me to reflect on the difference between men and women in their attitude to pruning. On the whole, men love to hack and chop while women like to snip about a bit, and generally conserve. The sight of somebody chopping down a tree, even if it is clearly diseased and dangerous, is always a bit painful to me. The only rows my husband I have ever had have been to do with pruning - and I have vivid memories of my lovely late mum and dad, always the most loving of couples, engaged in fairly furious rows about the way he had chopped down some of her cherished plants. In fact, I seem to remember mum chasing dad down the garden with a pair of shears. Men so often seek to control, where women are happy to allow a bit of chaos.

Which explains why my dear husband made me give specific instructions as to what I did and didn't want chopped down. With a bit of luck, all will be well by spring - everything has been carefully and beautifully done and nothing has been hacked at or vandalised. But it does look a bit sad out there.
All the same, there's more light in the garden while still leaving plenty of shelter for all the wildlife that comes to visit. Roll on spring.

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