And then it rained.  A lot.

It’s the awakening we’ve been waiting so patiently for – Daffodils, Tulips, Forsythia, and Magnolia abound!  Buds and leaves are beginning to swell and unfurl, while the grass deepens and grows shaggy.  It is finally time.

Nature is unabashedly breathtaking, and we should follow her lead and expertise in not only marveling at her beauty but maintaining it in its true and organic form.  This is our job, nothing more, nothing less.  Every plant has its own, unique growth habits, and we should never hinder its path but rather enhance and enable.  Choosing and siting plants correctly is one part of the equation, but proper pruning methods is probably the most important thing we can do to assist a plant in reaching its full and rightful potential.  Pruning is often thought to be part scientific and part artistic.  I have a slight problem with the latter.  I don’t think we should approach pruning as an art form.  What could we, as humans, possibly enhance upon?  The forest does not rely upon our artful hand, and yet it is stunning.  A plant growing naturally in the wild assumes the shape that allows it to capitalize on light, location, and climate.  The point being, pruning should be done judiciously to eliminate crossed, broken or diseased branches and/or when safety becomes a factor.  Anything more and you can affect the health of the plant and/or permanently deform its natural shape.

I know sometimes it’s hard to resist the urge to even out a plant, snip an errant limb here and there, but you must.  It’s the best thing you can do for your plants, and they will express their gratitude in the sheer beauty and allure of their natural form.

If you don’t believe me and have an urge to prune, I ask you to look at the following and decide for yourself:


Spirea Bridal Wreath in natural form.


Spirea Bridal Wreath pruned into an unnatural globe.


Forsythia in natural form.


Forsythia pruned and sheered.

“The tree of life is self pruning.”

-Joel Determan

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney