Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Overgrown Shrubs

I trimmed some shrubs yesterday. I have many of the problems common to old gardens. Paths are closing in, perennials become overcrowded, shrubs grow over perennials. I am constantly dividing and trimming. I know I didn’t put enough thought into mature size. Some evergreens grew larger than advertised.

These 20 year old red-blooming azaleas and (older than that) mountain laurel fill every inch of space our side garden.

They look better with some of the growth removed.

The back of the same garden was overgrown and caused mildew to grow on the house.
A little pruning gave them some breathing room.

This fir was our Christmas tree 35 years ago. I left the little white plastic fence at what was once the edge of the garden. I remember how small the tree was when we planted it. It is now taller than the house.

Over the next six months I’ll try to make a plan for spring. Perennials will be divided or removed. I’ll try to decide if large trees or shrubs need to be removed or severely pruned. I’ll need to make some tough decisions. I’ll see what can be saved. It will be difficult to say goodbye to plants. They feel like old friends.

A pruning guide is available at Virginia Cooperative Extension - when to prune and how to prune.


Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

A gardener's work is never done! I think even when you try to be careful about mature size, you can't always go by what the plant label says. What the label doesn't tell you, is that adult size may be with pruning!

You are right--you have some hard decisions to make. I think that is one aspect of gardening that is the hardest. Getting rid of plants or trees, that no longer work in a spot after spending years of tending and nurturing a plant. It will be interesting to see the process as you go through these changes.

Marie said...

Hi Jenny,
I hope the rain has not caused disaster in your area. Rain is needed by not all at once!

I've started a list of garden areas that need to be re-gardened.
I've (almost) decided to cut two overgrown evergreens. But that may mean that I'll get some new shrubs. If I think of it that way it's not so hard.