92/366: greenstead not so magnificent

Another problem caused by our extended trip overseas in 2011 came in the form of the lovely little Greenstead Magnificent in the back yard being swamped by the ubiquitous seaside daisy.If I had remembered that I had planted it there, when we returned last October I could have easily trimmed around it, rescuing it before getting to this sad stage.

C’est la vie. The choice between having a healthy Greenstead Magnificent or going around the world for ten weeks is actually no choice at all.

Now let’s see if this plant can manage to regenerate. I shall keep you posted!


89/366: a plan for the golden diosma

Having been obscured for some time behind a large conifer, this Golden Diosma has regenerated itself. I used to remove plants too soon to allow them to do this, but now I give them a fighting chance for survival. In this case I have been rewarded with new growth.

I like topiary, so I have pruned part of the new growth to create several little plants within a plant. There will need to be some tweaking and refining of this to create the look I envisage. Then, as with any shaped bush, it will need maintenance.

61/366: wish they could stay that size

It seems to me that a plant will reach what I consider an optimum size. Unfortunately, I have not developed a way of freezing time in order to maintain that perfection. Bonsai probably comes the closest to this, with pruning another option. However, sometimes plants seem to suddenly get too large to the point where you can no longer bring them back to the size you liked them best.

An example of this is a series of six Castewallen Gold conifers that we planted in September 1990. We even spaced them out widely, but they were fairly fast-growing, and reached what I considered a perfect size by the middle of 1993, a moment to be frozen, at least in a photograph, forever.

45/366: hearts for valentine’s day

In the front garden, one of the English box plants was getting too large for its situation under the Japanese maple, so I cut out the centre of it, rather than getting rid of the entire plant. I love recycling and reusing wherever possible. Because it was so big, part of it had generated new roots, so I managed to create two plants out of it.

One part sat right next to the footpath, so I decided to do a little hedging. Inspired by Valentine’s Day, its shape lent itself to form a heart, and with a few appropriate snips, I created this loving result.

34/366: greenstead magnificent

I am not boasting with this title, as this is the actual name of the plant about which I write. In 1998 we refurbished our front garden after building a garage, changing the plain concrete driveway and path to coloured pressed concrete.

We planted this beautiful little specimen, Greenstead Magnificent, which is a standard plant. The top is grafted on a sturdy base to create a weeping effect.

Little did we know how large it would grow. Fourteen years later I have to constantly prune it so that it doesn’t grow over the path. And it’s not something you can ruthlessly cut back because I would then be left with bare branches. Then because I prune it, it has encouraged higher growth, which is a little disappointing for the overall effect.

Sometimes I wish that you could freeze a plant in time at the size and shape that you liked best, but that is not to be. I still love the grey-green foliage it produces,  also providing some privacy for the front porch.

29/366: never promised you a rose garden

Thank you, I have my own rose garden, although it needs a little more love and care than it has been getting. Along the border of the garden I have three white flower carpet roses, that produce many roses, but of course that means there is a lot of dead-heading to do. If you trim off the spent blooms before they form pods it means that more nourishment can go towards producing new flowers.

I own a couple of different types of secateurs, but none were really suitable for the job. The other day I was in Bunnings and they happened to have a pair of floral snips for half price, and they have been perfect for this task, requiring very little effort on my part.

For the first time in a very long time I have managed to deadhead the entire set of flower carpet roses. I might even treat them to some rose food. They’ll think it’s Christmas, though in fact it is late January.

14/366: pruning the plum tree

Last Winter I had pruned the top of the plum trees, but due to our extended holiday, during Spring more branches appeared and were shooting skywards.

My plan is to lop the tops off to encourage lower growth and ease of fruit-picking. A facebook friend told me that her 82-year-old father was still climbing a ladder to pick fruit, with the assurance that her mother was holding the ladder. I do not wish that scenario for myself, so I am taking affirmative action now.

Possibly Summer is not the recommended time for undertaking such a task, but I like to strike while the iron’s hot. If I happen to be motivated, I do it, in case the momentum doesn’t last.

I have pruned the second-largest tree, but still have to attack the biggest one. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I have found that to keep going in a large garden one has to take it in stages. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So rather than getting overwhelmed by the big picture, I try and focus on one area at a time, and vary the chores to keep myself entertained.

Now I have discovered that we possibly have a fourth plum tree. Again, it is quite small so I might even pot it to give to someone who can replant it in their garden. Another generation of Satsuma plums may live on!

A good reward after the pruning was to enjoy a bowl of stewed plums with some yoghurt.