Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Big Prune

On Sunday my husband and I tackled the hebes that line our driveway. Its taken me two days to recover and write about it. My arms are still aching from wielding the loppers! I hold the national collection of hebes for the Garden Plants Conservation Association of Australia http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/garden-plant-conservation-gpc and have about 60 species and cultivars - many of them beside the driveway. When I planted them, there was plenty of room (being a new garden) but they have grown as plants do and our driveway width has shrunk so much something had to give and it wasn't going to be the cars I was told in no uncertain terms!
Thirty minutes spent sharpening the various weapons (secateurs, loppers, hedge clippers) was well spent and cutting was a breeze. The biggest bushes measured nearly 2m X 2m and I cut them back by half. Cutting hebes back so hard is not usually a problem because there are often green shoots arising from the branches low down. This was the case with most of my hebes. The prunings were piled onto the tandem trailer and the job was finished by 3pm with just a trip to the tip to be undertaken after a reviving cup of coffee. Being late winter I am hopeful that the bushes will produce new growth in a month or so. I have probably foregone flowers on those species and cultivars that flower in spring, but those that flower in summer (the majority) should have recovered enough to produce flowers by then. Apparently in their native homeland (New Zealand) gardeners regularly cut back hebes this hard with impunity. Only time will tell whether I have been too hard on them or not. The rain that is currently falling will aid them in their recovery after more than a decade of below average rainfall.

They look pretty sad now but I'm sure they will look fine in a few months time.

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