Careful About That Pruning

Kolkwitzia amabilis Dream Catcher

This shrub is so large that it literally is taking over the garden. It’s totally my fault. It’s exactly what I talk about when I lecture. One of the things that I always remind people is that we often fail to envision what a mature tree or shrub will look like–or, as I say colloquially, “remember, 6′ tall is bigger than me!”

Well, I always fail to plan for mature plant size, because nothing is ever happy in my horrible wet clay soil so it is a rare plant that achieves its full size. This kolkwitzia is such a rare plant.

And while it is just glorious this time of year when it’s a glowing wall of flowers, if you notice at the base, it is completely obscuring my lovely flowering quinces. Sigh. My bad.

A neighbor’s kolkwitzia

But at least I didn’t do this–pruning at the wrong time so that I cut off most of this year’s bloom. There are actually 2 of these. It’s sad to see.

In this neighbor’s defense, perhaps these shrubs were damaged by wind or heavy snow or something. But I walk this way pretty regularly and I don’t recall that. I am going to stick with the original “pruned at the wrong time theory. “

I suspect it won’t happen next year, knowing these neighbors. As for me, my lack of vision will persist, sadly.

4 thoughts on “Careful About That Pruning

  1. The Chatsworth Lady May 24, 2021 / 11:04 am

    I share your clay-soil pain! Mine is ridiculously stony/rocky to boot. Your kolkwitzia’s acts like my cotinus does. Last fall I hacked mine back from 8 ft to about 18″ and wondered if I’d actually killed it. Nope!

  2. gardendaze May 24, 2021 / 11:39 am

    Oh yes, I have those too! Up here, we call them “New England potatoes.” (I am sure that you have an equally colorful name for yours).

    Plants sure are funny–they have their own personalities almost!


  3. tonytomeo May 24, 2021 / 5:55 pm

    Gads! I probably already mentioned the two ‘Prairie Fire’ crabapples across the road that get pruned back and deprived of all bloom annually, just as the floral buds are popping and beginning to show a bit of color. I would prefer for the trees to get cut down than to see them treated like that. It seems to be intentional, because it is just as the color is showing, whether it is late or early. I watch, hoping that the pruning might be off schedule for a week or so, but it never is. It is always just in time to remove the bloom.

  4. gardendaze May 24, 2021 / 6:07 pm

    It’s scary, isn’t it? It’s almost as if people deliberately try to make sure that the plants don’t bloom. I have a neighbor who deliberately cuts her forsythia every spring right before bloom so it doesn’t bloom. Heck, if you hate the thing that much, just take it out.


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