Friday, September 12, 2008

Meatball Watch

I've just started my new class at the Arboretum called Maintenance. It's part of the required Garden Basics courses I have to take for the Gardening Certificate.

So far the class has paid for itself because I learned 2 important things:

1) When you renewal prune it doesn't mean-- as I foolishly thought before -- taking it "down" by 1/3, but to prune out 1/3 of the canes from the bottom. Yes, I asked that question in class and yes, I am now prefacing all my questions with, "I have a stupid question..."

2) Pruning and shearing are 2 different things. Yes, I have been wearing a gardeners dunce cap this whole time. I thought this whole time I was pruning my shrubs, but I was just shearing them.

And by shearing I mean ... I have a garden of meatballs.

Larry, Darryl, & Darryl, my three Judd Viburnums out front were smaller meatballs when we moved in. I ignored them for 2 seasons in which it was pointed out to me that they were getting so large, that some madman could hide behind them and attack me (this in a neighborhood where I leave my garage open all night and nothing has ever been taken - knock on wood). So I sheared them back out of pure panic and it was such a panic that I'm surprised I didn't shear everything back to 3', limiting myself to being terrorized by only very small madmen.
Darryl & Darryl, with a fellow boxwood meatballer, Bob, who I haven't pruned in 2 years.

So now my goal is to de-meatball the Viburnum
-- a feat my teacher said could happen by:
1) leaving them alone - i.e. no shearing
2) renewal prune out 1/3 of the canes to encourage lower horizontal growth.

And even this might not solve the problem, and it may take a long time, but I am determined to be on meatball watch; to do what I can to transform these spaghetti toppers into lush, naturalized shrubs -- the way that nature intended.

Meatball watch is officially ON.


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

There are no stupid questions! At least you are getting your money's worth from the class, & your shrubs will all be thanking you. I'm laughing at the image of being terrorized by small madmen - it reminds me of the psycho doll from the old movie "Trilogy of Terror." I hope you can rejuvenate those shrubs, but it might be that you'll have to remove 1 or more of them because they might end up being too big for the space. Thank goodness there are now so many dwarf shrubs available.

angie said...

Is that because of the type of shrubs they are? You know, like boxwoods are supposed to be like that....a certain shape to fit the landscape. I wonder if that's what I should have done with my old hydrangea? I wonder what I should do with those out of control bushes in front of my house?

And, I have to add - The only stupid question is the one that is never asked. :) Although I have thought to myself plenty of times, what a stupid question!

Aim said...

Hey, I didn't know that stuff either. Who you callin' stupid?!

Just kidding--good luck with your de-meatballing progress! I love your blog, I'm learning along with you :)