Meet the Family
Week five in the new house: with the inside shaping up, it was time to pay some attention to the outside. So we took advantage of the picture-perfect weather this Fourth of July weekend and did some pruning. Let me introduce you to our new plant family.
The Three Tenors line the driveway. Actually, they are Saucer Magnolias, but they look as if they are about to burst into O Sole Mio, so I call them the Three Tenors.
In the front yard is a very nice weeping Japanese maple which I have christened Cousin Itt. Itt could use a good haircut.
Standing on the opposite side of the lawn from Cousin Itt is Alfalfa, which I'm pretty sure is a weeping birch. My photo isn't very good, but if you look closely, you can see an errant stalk standing straight up in the middle. Hence the name.
We also have some boring foundation hollies. I've nicknamed them Boring Foundation Hollies. Get it? They're so boring they don't even remind me of anyone.
I took the back yard. My mission: slim down the Three Tenors.
Ron took the front yard. His mission: trim the boring foundation hollies. I didn't think they looked too bad, but Ron likes things neat. Plus he wanted to try his brand new hedge clipper.
As for Cousin Itt and Alfalfa, my thought was to leave them alone for the time being. I have no idea how to trim weeping trees, and I didn't want to turn them into Ringo Starr or Moe.
By 3 p.m., our work was done. We changed places to check out each other's oeuvre.
This is what Ron saw where the Three Tenors had been. Looks like someone got carried away with her new pruners.
And this is what I saw where Cousin Itt and Alfalfa had been. Looks like someone was having a bit too much fun with his new hedge clippers.
Well, you met the shrubs. Now meet Ron.
It's only fair I show myself too.
7/7/2014 02:13:08 pm
I'll be right over!
7/7/2014 03:54:20 pm
I love it! I think I would have pruned them the same way. I much prefer to see their legs instead of all that round leafiness. They look less rotund now. Excellent job!
7/8/2014 01:39:57 am
Thanks for the encouragement, but I think I really butchered them. They look naked and ridiculous! But at least they'll fill in. I am not so sure about the Japanese maple.
7/7/2014 04:19:52 pm
Tee hee. Thanks for the giggles. I need to borrow your services around here. Hedge trimming always seems like such a time-consuming, agonizing job to me. After all these years, I think I'm starting to understand it (slightly). But it still takes several hours for me to trim one shrub. Unless it's a Rose bush, which I trim pretty dramatically because they always come back stronger. Great post!
7/8/2014 01:42:07 am
I'm happy to come and ruin your shrubs any time. When people ask me to do something, I say, Do you want it done, or do you want it done right? If you want it done, I'm in.
7/8/2014 07:22:19 am
Glad to hear it. I laughed too, once I finished crying.
7/8/2014 04:41:18 am
Sarah, you're so funny.
7/8/2014 07:23:49 am
I know what you mean about pruning phobia. I am terrified of ruining the plants - with good reason, it turns out. It's nice of you to say that what we did looks good, but it actually looks dreadful.
7/8/2014 05:23:04 am
Too funny. All I know about birch is NEVER to prune it when it's leafing out in the spring. I did ours once and it starting spewing water at the wound, soaking the ground. Of course, most garden sites will tell you this, but did I read first? Nope. As for everything else, you're doing a marvelous job. But get rid of those not-worth-a-nickname shrubs and find something better.
7/8/2014 07:25:47 am
I did not know that about birches. Yours really started spewing water? But somehow yours survived, so I guess it wasn't fatal. Oh - and I am planning to get rid of those not-worth-a-nickname hollies, especially now that they have been hacked to pieces. Any suggestions about what to put in their place?
7/8/2014 07:28:49 am
That's so funny. It must be something about a man and a saw. It sounds as if you exercise far greater restraint than I do, though. I need to learn to quit before I think I'm done.
Really enjoyed this post! To me it looks like you both did a fine job. Certainly the three tenors will fill in and look better than before. But why stop with just pruning the boring hollies? Why not replace them with something more interesting? Oh, and nice outfit!
7/8/2014 02:32:04 pm
I'm glad you like the outfit. I wear it whenever I prune... And yes, I am planning to rip out those boring hollies? I actually bought some shield ferns, which are supposed to be evergreen, and thought about putting them in the front. Your ostrich ferns were my inspiration.
7/9/2014 08:11:34 am
Thanks for a lovely and very amusing post ! Love the look- alikes !
7/9/2014 01:49:39 pm
It's so true. I miss my old garden, but truthfully, it was getting to be time for a do-over. I made so many mistakes!
7/10/2014 05:40:52 am
If you saw Cousin Itt in real life, believe me he would not look better. He is hurting.
7/10/2014 12:24:07 pm
I used to refinish furniture with a man who would say "you won't notice it from the road" I like your saying too! By the way your blog cracked me up...
7/11/2014 02:00:43 am
That's a good one too. There seem to be many versions of the "galloping horse" slogan floating around - I've heard from others who have their own variant of the same general philosophy. Thanks so much for visiting. I'm glad you enjoyed the post,.
7/11/2014 02:02:28 am
Thanks, Indie. After it was all over and I recovered from the shock, I decided there was nothing to do but laugh. What's done is done.
7/16/2014 12:27:17 pm
What a fun post! Your new home is so lovely. I love your Japanese maple. It's nice to see what you and your hubby look like! You make a fine couple. I am sure your pruning skills will compliment each other, although I have learned that men with hedge trimmers can be dangerous.Good luck!
7/18/2014 02:35:07 am
My poor Japanese maple. I suppose it will grow in a bit and finally hit that perfect stage - kind of like a haircut. I totally agree about men with hedge clippers. Maybe Ron and I should trade pruning tools - I'll take the clippers, he can take the hand clippers.
7/21/2014 08:27:50 am
I appreciate that so much. We all have to have some talent, right? Mine certainly isn't pruning!
7/26/2014 03:16:50 pm
Hi Patrick. Thanks so much for your comment! I appreciate it. Yes, you are right - limbing up trees does show off nice bark, and the Three Tenors will fill out a little on top and eventually look fine. But as much as I love the white bark on the weeping birch, I'm still not happy that its bark is so exposed.
7/31/2014 01:46:32 am
Outstanding! I am laughing!
8/1/2014 03:03:10 am
Thanks! I'm so glad you liked it!
9/20/2015 09:28:45 pm
I just found your blog and recommended it to a friend .. finally, a gardening blog for the rest of us .. then noted that the most recent post is a year old. A YEAR! I hope you have not stopped blogging altogether.
9/22/2015 08:48:59 pm
You're too kind! Shortly after I wrote this I got a new job that has completely consumed my life. I keep meaning to get back to the blog, but so far, all I can do is talk about it. There's simply no time (and it shows in my garden!).
9/30/2015 05:53:02 pm
I completely understand, especially now that the gardening season is coming to a close. However, with my fingers crossed, I will check back in the spring..... :)
2/17/2016 02:09:26 pm
I am so happy to have found your blog. I have read several and cannot wait to read all of your posts. It's nice that you are local. I hope that will continue to post.
2/17/2016 07:05:42 pm
Thank you so much. It was such a nice surprise to get your comment after not having posted for so long. My now not-so-new job is just killing this blog. I hope to get back to it soon. You're local? Whereabouts?
6/3/2016 11:13:06 am
I too am a latecomer to your blog and was so sorry to see that the last entry was in 2014. As someone who can't even get Instagram going beyond the first photo, I totally understand. I hope the not-so-new job is going well and someday you can post again.
6/3/2016 08:33:01 pm
Thank you! I so appreciate! I still hope to start it up again. I have tons of materials, mostly about trying to block an army of deer from destroying my plants. With limited success, I might add!
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The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
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