London (change)
Fri 11°C / 9°C
Tomorrow 11°C / 5°C
13 messages
28/09/2013 at 09:26

Why do I see so many plants "balled" up when I walk or drive places? Plants like Philadelphus, Weigela, Physocarpus, Viaburnum bodnantense, etc. They turn into huge balls of foliage with little or no flowers. I actually find it easier removing 1 in 4 or however many it should be from the base of the plant, rather than hedgecutting or shearing it. I'd never cut a Wisteria with a hedgecutter, so why a Philadelphus. Grinds my gears. 

28/09/2013 at 09:34

It's done by 'groundsmen' rather than gardeners - we have the same problem in the grounds where I work - shrubs are trimmed once a year all at the same time - late summer, including the cornus  and if at all possible they're 'shaped' as you say.

They wouldn't know the difference between a Viburnum and a Viola 

28/09/2013 at 10:42

You see it all the time here in France. Lovely flowering shrubs clipped out of recognition around supermarket car parks.

28/09/2013 at 11:08

Annoys me as well. Whilst I was away my brother did this to a Ceanothus Californian Lilac, what was a lovely if slightly overgrown shrub now looks like a blinking lollipop. He thinks it looks good, and if I kick off about it I'll have the shrubs at M's to do as well.  In fact most of the shrubs he goes near get this treatment...anything to do with his new toy, extended hedge trimmer ?? Pity he hasn't got a new spade.

28/09/2013 at 14:06

Totally agree. ,it's just as quick to prune correctly.  Correct pruni g means maximum flowers.  And, usually, pruning isNt complicated.

Dove, I thought viburnums and violas were the same .  Oh, I get it, violas!  The musical instruments but I thought they were violins.  

28/09/2013 at 15:03

very few plants look very good pruned like that, the only ones I can think of are evergreen. Many people don't see ugliness of form, if they have a flower they can exclaim over that's enough. 
I visit a lot of gardens and see many things I wouldn't stand for; sick looking roses, well past their sell-by date, but still flowering in a poor way. Mildewed asters. Chlorotic evergreens on the edge of their lime tolerance, or maybe a bit over. 

There are so many easy going, disease-free, good-looking plants to choose from.

28/09/2013 at 17:32

The council around here like to lollipop trees.  Tall clean stems, and  small ball heads. I cringe every time I see it.

28/09/2013 at 17:53

They're cellos Verd...

My ex partner used to do the same - drove me nuts too. And everything had to be no bigger than about 4 feet- regardless of what it was! He had a row of 4 or 5 different shrubs in his garden all trimmed like that 

I'd rather people took shrubs out if they don't have room to let them look their best or can't prune them so that they look right. I'm not including topiarised shrubs or hedging in that of course, and a row of pollarded trees can look terrific in the right setting.

28/09/2013 at 18:20

My thinking too nut.  Plants that simply don't look good or healthy have no place in my garden.  Ahpy plants looks good and enhances the garden.    A sickly specimen spoils the look of everything 

28/09/2013 at 19:22

With all the RHS talk of horticultural careers, maybe they should initiate some sort of training for groundsmen??  Turn it into a skilled job, rather than a hatchet one.

28/09/2013 at 20:31

Good idea chicky. I think Dove's calling them groundsmen is over-generous. Councils will employ anyone who can stand up and pull the starting cord. At the end of the road where I worked from '95 to 2001 is a row of Canary Bird roses. If I hadn't seen these flower in their first year I wouldn't know what they were. they get hacked back just before flowering every year

29/09/2013 at 10:30

Glad others feels the same way. I can vaguely understand it in car parks and industrial sites/business parks as the try to keep costs down, but I regularly see this in front gardens. My other gripe is territorial pruning. "Plants are not allowed to be touching". Since when is this common practice. Surely people should just look at mature height and spread on a plant rather than plant a Choisya 2ft away from the next plant when planting out a bed. 

29/09/2013 at 14:09

Ah!  Well I do practice "territorial pruning"

I used to grow clematis, for example, over deciduous shrubs.....great for summer colour but they ruined the host shrubs.  Never again.

I dont let associating plants touch my precious ...amd special....conifers.  Taxus standishii, some dwarf cryptomerias, dwarf junipers, etc.  they provide "perfect" unblemished shapes in the dormant seasons amd add lovely form and structure.  No browning caused by unruly plants hosting upon them. Baggesons Gold, euonymous emerald n gold, santolinas.....both grey and the yellow forms......the coloured foliaged pittosporums, etc. etc will not be crawled over by nearby plants. Salix  Hakuro Nishiki too will not be a host for any climber.  I have persicara red dragon growing under it and it is "pruned" throughout summer tomaintain a purple under support/contrast  to the cream/pink/pale green leaves. It looks good, natural and eye catching but I will not allow the  salix to be grown over.  I llike my areas of "cottage" planting but I have areas of heathers (which will not be grown over either), and areas of complementary and contrasting perennials that are not spoiled by intruding plants.  I have evergreens trained ....e.g. Hollies are pruned to their natural shape (golden king, for example, is 10' high and 8' across.  It is shaped naturally and looks good all year round.  Never will I allow a climber over it)

When the summer colour has gone my "protected" evergreens and deciduous shrubs will make their show so, yes, "territorial pruning" for me for them 

email image
13 messages