Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cut down to size

I have a hunch that if there had been hydrangeas around in the time of Christ, there might have been a parable woven around the pruning of same. I've just finished pruning the second of the massive and elderly bushes in our garden - they were there when we bought the house 33 years ago, and they looked much the same then as they do now. Pruning is always the same. I find a new shoot 'way down a sturdy branch and immediately cut just above it. I watch with awe as the tiny sprout lengthens and grows; last year they grew a full three feet over the summer. I feel excited (well - not wildly, but this is a story) about new growth on old wood, even though I know it will not flower this season. And then I forget about it ...

..Until the following Spring. And the shoots which gave me such a buzz (relatively speaking) are now silly long, bendy boughs with a stupid tuft of leaves at the top, blackened no doubt by late frosts, and I cut them down to within an inch of their lives. Again, they won't flower this year. If I go on like this they will never flower. They will always be new and leafy until they turn into over-long woody monstrosities which I demolish altogether. And there will once more be a huge pile of cut branches to remove to the recycling.

Actually, I hate my hydrangeas and I loathe pruning them. But I couldn't help making mental parallels as I grunted and hacked away. Too much lay training, I reckon, is bad for a seasonal gardener.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, Chris, as the Bible does indeed speak of how we must be pruned. I am always amazed when I look back on various aspects in my own walk to see how I was indeed pruned, only to grow into a new creature!!! I only wish this "bush" was more willing to be pruned in more areas!!!! Stubborn old mule I am, sometimes!