Prune it up

I am really excited to introduce my fellow horticulturist, Betsy Ekholm to the blogosphere. Betsy started working with Gail and me in 2013 as our gardens intern and we couldn’t let her go. Had to make her an official member of the garden crew — though you wouldn’t be wrong to think after reading this post that she’d be just as happy and welcome on the grounds crew. And I can’t help secretly hoping she grows to love blogging as much as she loves pruning… -kris

I like to prune. It’s kind of my thing. Ever since interning at the Arnold Arboretum five years ago, I just love giving life and new shape to trees and shrubs -and pretty much anything I can get my hands on! Being here at Blithewold for the past three years, it’s been a privilege working alongside Gail and Kris. I love being a part of the planning and planting of all the gardens. I am constantly discovering how to make all the plants we love work together in harmony. Despite gaining new love for garden creation, my love for pruning hasn’t faded. This Spring when Gail told me the silver pear in the herb garden needed pruning I knew that was a job I wanted to do. I went about it deliberately, taking into account the shape we desired and the tree’s predilection for leaning toward the sun. In the end, Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’ gained a refined shape that was much more suitable for the Herb Garden.


Some people make the world a better place by making meals for those in need or picking up trash from public spaces. I make the world a more beautiful place by pruning. Not all pruning is about taking down limbs or making big changes in the natural shape of a plant. There is a type of pruning that requires a more delicate touch. I like to think of this as a kind of editing. Just last week I edited Geranium ‘Rozanne’ from around the roses in the North Garden. ‘Rozanne’ is a beauty in its own right, but not when it detracts from the lovely shapes and flowers that live next to it. Good pruning makes good plant neighbors.

Do you prefer pruning to planting as well?  What are your favorite plants to lovingly prune?

Happy gardening!  And may your geraniums always bloom respectfully near your roses.