Making the cut

Seed packets are starting to jam up our mailbox so Gail and I are getting busy clearing the desk and making the final cuts to our plant orders. All of us, especially those of us who aren’t made of money, know that plants don’t grow on trees. These things are expensive – and for good reason. We all know what kinds of resources go into growing plants and we’re willing to pay the price for what we truly, madly want. But budgets of actual money constrain us into making either-or choices instead of both-and. We just can’t afford to buy every little (and big) thing we circled. – Which is good because where would we put them all? I really enjoy this part of the process because it sharpens the edge of my desire. By the end of the culling sessions we have a much better idea of what we want the gardens to look like.

We’re making other cut backs (cuts back?) too. February light in the greenhouse is so much higher and warmer than January light that it always surprises me. Most of our greenhouse denizens don’t go into a full die-back dormancy over the winter, but growth generally slows way-way down especially in our coolest house. Until right about now. It’s like April in the Rose Garden – time to cut back the plants, like fuchsias, that are just now starting to send out a new flush of growth for the season.

fuchsia - before (F. magellanica 'Aurea')fuchsia - after (with a Camellia 'Chandleri Elegans' blooming overhead)

new sky over the Rock GardenOutside, new cuts have opened patches of sky we’ve never seen before. Last week, Fred and Dan took down a rapidly declining English oak that shaded part of the Rock Garden. That has opened up all sorts of new opportunities for growth and change. – We might even need some different plants…

forcing branchesAnd finally, have you cut branches to force yet? I almost prefer blooming sticks of forsythia inside than out. They’re so easy and quick – a couple-three weeks in sun and warm water and they’ll be golden. I’m not sure if we’ll have such easy luck with the Paulownia buds (on the right side of the bucket)… Remember – and I only say this because there’s a thief in our neighborhood – always get permission before taking anything from any property that doesn’t truly, actually belong to you.