Shaping technique

This week, I thought I would do a post on how I shape some of the bushes in the yard, using my Ozothamnus ‘Sussex Silverand shrubby hare’s ear (Bupleurum fruticosum) from the front rock garden as examples. Here they are in early August 2021. The Ozothamnus is dead center and the shrubby hare’s ear is peaking out from behind.

And the view from the side in mid-August 2021. Here, you can get a better view of the shrubby hare’s ear, which is blooming off to the right of the Ozothamnus.

Here is what they look like now, after cutting them back hard so that they stay smaller, more dense, and shapely. They are ugly now, but they will grow out of it in a couple months.

Some before and after shots. First, the Ozothamnus ‘Sussex Silver’. Sort of amazing how many prickly pear pads were behind all of that.

Silvery shrub branches and leaves of Ozothamnus 'Sussex Silver'
Mass of cut branches on Ozothamnus 'Sussex Silver' after a hard trim

To be honest, the Ozothamnus is way too large of a plant for this area. It grows so fast, so now I am sort of stuck cutting it back hard every year so it doesn’t get out of hand. I really should replace it with something a little more manageable, but I do like the silvery, spiky form that it attains later in summer.

Next, the before and after for the shrubby hare’s ear.

Shrubby hare's ear in bloom with yellow flowers
Shrubby hare's ear after a hard trim

Two other shrubs that get this treatment every spring include my holly-leaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) and variegated buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus ‘Variegata’). I just finished pruning those last week.

Switching focus, nearby is this patch of grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum) that came with the house. I know they aren’t considered horticulturally exciting, but they are cute and reliable. For a while, I was worried grape hyacinth was invasive because it does seed around. But, it’s taken 14 years to make a patch this size plus a few outliers here and there. Now, I am thinking of collecting the seed and spreading it in the woods behind the house. Mistake?

And, in front of the Ozothamnus is my favorite our native native mahonias, the cascade mahonia (Mahonia nervosa).

Yellow flowers of cascade mahonia
Mahonia nervosa

Clean, shiny, prickly leaves. Stays short.

Yellow flowers of cascade Oregon-grape
Mahonia nervosa

That’s it for this week.

3/31/2022 to 4/9/2022: Lowest temperature for period = 32°F, highest = 80°F.  1.4 inches of rain.

Notes: Spring weeds are really starting to take off. Horsetail is emerging. Both the Anna’s and the Rufous hummingbirds have mostly disappeared. I did see one sick hummingbird earlier in the week.

Garden chores accomplished: Weeding, more pruning, and plant shopping at Hortlandia 2022.

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