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Extreme Pruning

March 25th, 2014
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Front Yard Landscaping Ideas and Bonsai

Atlanta front yard landscaping ideas BonsaiPruning the right way at the right time on the right plant is a mantra at Gardens to Love.  Many of our customers prefer their best plants and flowers on display on their front porch or in the front yard landscaping – and good pruning is critical. The best Atlanta front yard landscaping ideas can require the most upkeep to make such beauty last. We believe good pruning is vitally important to plant growth and flowering.   There is pruning,  and then there is Bonsai – what I call extreme pruning.

During a recent visit to the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA, I came upon this stunning bonsai pair of Chinese Elm, Ulmus parvifolia.  They are perfectly grown showing no trace of the artist; proportion among elements; and visual balance.  Such plants and visual balance are not restricted to the hallowed scenes of great conservatories; they are achievable for the porches or front yard landscaping of their fans as well – we’ve been lucky enough to work with and maintain such beautiful plants ourselves. But here in the conservatories, these specific specimens were placed against a brick wall.  The horizontal mortar lines in the wall relate visually to the trained horizontal lines of the trees.  With the spring light bathing the walls, the scene became an invitation to meditate.

I did not understand Bonsai practice until I traveled to Vietnam in the early 90’s.  There, I watched a Atlanta front porch bonsai ideasman return home from a long grueling day of labor to enter his tiny outdoor space filled with his collection of Bonsai plants.  He turned over each leaf, determined if a tiny unobtrusive  cut with his handmade scissors was necessary, then drenched each plant with a scoop of water.   I learned from him that observing, turning over each leaf, caring for, pruning and watering those tiny manipulated trees was his form of meditation.  His way of concentrating on the here and now.

I purchased a pair of those handmade scissors (they cost one dollar) and I tried my hand at Bonsai growing upon returning home from that trip.  I trained several specimen junipers and they responded well to the extreme pruning techniques of bonsai.

Pruning the right way at the right time on the right plant is important, regardless of the plant size.  It is an art.  Not everyone is good at pruning, but we can all meditate on it.

Marcia Weber, Gardens to Love


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