Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pruning lessons

The hedge is badly overgrown.  I'm no garden-at-Versailles guy really, but whacking away at bushes so dense with dead, dry branches looked sort of like fun really--and it would be, if the temps weren't somewhere  close to h-e-double hockey sticks. 

But by early afternoon, however, I'm more than ready to do something other than dance my fingers over this keyboard, so I went at it again yesterday, brandishing hatchet and handsaw, ripping out overgrown branches along the west side of the yard.  It's not hard work exactly, but plucking out dead branches from old bushes is like trying make sense out of chaos.  Like this:  

One of the bushes is married to an almost mature maple that, years ago already, emerged from its very center. Years of uncontrolled forsythia have grown up around it, sometimes braiding itself into the maple's own branches.  The marriage is a mess, to say the least.


There are those who might say that anything that Mother Nature does is beautiful, but I'm not that pure.  The bush is fifteen feet high, the maple, twenty; but right there at the heart of things is a riot of suckers from both parents, enough ugly, dead forsythia branches for a horror movie. Yesterday, like a killer, I whacked away; but most of what I trimmed was woody and knotty and already long gone. And I'm not apologizing.

But some of the pile I created was leafy--I'll admit it. More than a little, in fact. Still, when I look out my window this morning and see the trimmed hedge (still needs tons of work, by the way), I know the unpruned maple branches will be pleased anyway--and pleasing, as it is already.  At least to my eyes.

There were more than a few moments when I just shook my head. That maple was so overgrown at the bottom that it was almost indistinguishable from the forsythia. What was tree and what was bush was identifiable only by leaf.  Lots of what I cut out were suckers from the base of the maple, which, years ago, the owner hacked pretty heavily; hence, a thousand of 'em.

Some were extraordinary.  They couldn't have been more than a year or two old, but when I'd hack them out, I'd pull them from the leafy mass above, only to find that they'd somehow reached ten and twelve feet long, there at the end a bouquet of leaves.  At base those infant branches were no more than a half-inch thick, like this:  

But somehow, on a anorexic branch, they'd grown all the way up to the height of the maple, to a point where they'd finally reached the blessed sunlight they were searching for.  Like this one--a half-inch thick and a quarter-mile long.  So huge a desire to live.  And now it's over.

Incredible drama, right there in an overgrown hedge. 

Such is life in the garden.

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