I hope that I never lose my interest in learning. I think that I could be a perpetual student, at least in subjects I am interested in, lol. I love, love taking garden courses. I have taken quite a few over the years, but my favourite teacher has to be Marion Jarvie. Every course I have taken with her, I have come out a better gardener. She opened my mind to using trees and shrubs, the way other gardeners use perennials.
I have taken lots of courses with her, but on Wednesday it was pruning, and it was in her own garden. This was so much better than taking it at the Toronto Botanical Gardens, I am always looking for an excuse to get to see Marions garden. It was also a lot of fun that my friend Barry Parker was there as well. (We actually went to a garden centre after for a spot of shopping).
We started at the road side with a Japanese Maple that she had planted 25 years ago. It was one of the first trees that she planted on her property and it is huge. Now it is overhanging the driveway a bit too much and needs pruned back.
You have to cut back a tree or shrub gradually, do not try to shape it all in one year. It is best to prune it over 2 or 3 years and give the plant time to acclimatize. Marion had a friend, David Leeman there to do the heavy work. He is making sure he knows exactly what branch she wants removed, after all you can’t glue it back on.
David removes the branch gradually, first using lopers to take off some of the thinner branches at the end,
and then getting out the saw. He used the saw in two spots, first reducing the length of the branch. This is so, when he cuts it close to the trunk, it weight of it does not tear the bark. You also want to cut it close to the trunk, but not too close, it is a fine line. Marion said that you can prune a Japanese Maple any time, except when the days are above freezing, and the nights are below. This is the classic ‘maple syrup’ time, the sap starts to flow , you do not want the tree to ‘bleed’. I should have taken and after picture, but you really couldn’t see the difference, the mark of a good pruner.
Look at the lovely underplanting of the Japanese maple, Athyrium ‘Ghost’, Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ and a variegated hosta, I could copy this look.
After the course was over, I took a look around Marion’s garden. This maple is on my wish list for next year, it is Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’, or the Full Moon Maple.
I love euphorbias, there are a lot of variegated ones out there now, like ‘Ascot Rainbow’, or ‘Silver Swan’.
Under her arbour, a pale pink, double rose of sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), a red Japanese maple and a lovely variegated grass. I could duplicate this as well.
Here is something else I would like to try, if I could only get Ian to go for it. She topped her blue spruce, and has pruned it well.
Between her and Barry, I can’t decide whose ligularia is lovelier, hopefully mine will be nice as well one day.
I love this small clematis scrambling through the perennials, it is called ‘Rooguchi’, 2 o’s on the tag, but when I googled it, there was only one o.
A golden dawn redwood or Metasequoia, is also being pruned. She is keeping it to roughly 10 feet tall, cut off the leader 2 years ago. It also has a lovely clematis scrambling through it.
Lastly, a great example of pruning. This is a golden euonymous. It has been trained on a pole and kept clipped in a columnar fashion. I could copy that too!