"Spring Thaw"  -  Winter 2014
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Pruning Tips
Here's some user-friendly information from Perdue University on pruning techniques  How to Prune


Spirea 'Ogon'
'Ogon' is an April bloomer that carries its weight in the fall, too. The willow-like leaves start out golden yellow in the spring and turn the most remarkable orange during the last moments of fall. Small white flowers in spring and a medium sized, slightly arching habit make it a good companion for coarser companions in full sun or light shade.  



Cornus sanguinea 'Winter Flame' 

Not quite as showy nor as well known as the Red Twig Dogwood, this form provides a slightly more subtle winter display with stems of yellow, orange, and red. Growing 8-10' in height, it takes on the best color in full sun, though tolerates partial shade.

As with Red Twig Dogwood, cut and remove the oldest canes, all the way at the ground, leaving the more spindly young shoots; they are the ones that color up best.   



Fatshedera lizei 
is an unusual cross between Common Ivy (Hedera helix) and a sub-tropical plant called Fatsia japonica. It is a lazily-climbing evergreen vine with rich glossy dark green leaves, happiest in shade. Provide protection from harsh winter winds, and a little additional staking or support.  It doesn't run about or take over, like ivy does, extending its reach only about 7-10'. Note that the variegated variety is a bit more tender.
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On those first warmish days in February - the days which persuade you that you will not, in fact, freeze to death this winter - you may be eager to get out to your garden. Perhaps, like me, you're anxious to finish projects you didn't quite complete last fall.  If some of that work involves pruning spring or summer flowering shrubs, my advice is simple: Wait!


Pruning sends a message to the plant to awaken and send sap flowing into the nipped branches. This, in turn, sets the shrub up for catastrophe when the thermostat plummets again (as it always does).  Come March, when the weather settles a bit, your plants will thank you for your careful attention, but don't jump the gun. It's best to wait until temperatures are more stable to give your shrubs a trim.

Finding Balance


How to prune? My sculptor's eye looks for dominant shapes. Then, it's a matter of removing extraneous branches that don't add any character to the form. Leave only the main, well balanced structure to support healthy growth in the future.


February holds the promise of spring, but it is often a month of weather extremes. I coax myself along by taking note of winter's graceful moments. When a beautiful plant is dressed in a shimmering coat of ice, the form becomes magical.

Spring Haircut 
Take out your early spring gardening urges on your perennial grasses. They will appreciate the haircut BEFORE their new green shoots begin to emerge. Likewise, leaves of perennials which have turned to mush during these cold days, can be removed and tossed in the compost heap. You'll do those plants a favor by removing that soggy, dead material as the weather warms. 

As Mother Nature is about to freshen her look, you may have noticed that my newsletter looks different. Stand by for more exciting transformations.


Send me an email, and let me know what you think

Best regards,

Images like these give me hope!

Jan Kirsh Landscapes and Studio | 410.745.5252 | jkirsh@jankirsh.com | http://www.jankirsh.com
PO Box 246
Bozman, MD 21612

...Reflecting the intimate wonder of nature.

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