See what happens when the plants in the garden are happy? They do pretty things. It is now halfway through December and this honeysuckle is still blooming nicely. The cool weather has inhibited bloom somewhat, but has not totally prevented it yet. By the end of winter, this honeysuckle will get pruned back so that it can regenerate new growth to bloom through next year.
This honeysuckle happens to be growing on a chain link fence behind a small group of apartments. Someone who lives in one of the apartments enjoys tending a few vegetables and flowers, but really does not put too much effort into the surrounding vines and shrubbery that obscure the view of the parking lot next door. That region of the garden gets only the maintenance that is required to keep it under control. The person who does it is no horticultural professional; merely someone who enjoys a bit of home gardening.
Horticultural professionals should know more about horticulture than someone who just enjoys growing a few vegetables and flowers after coming home from working at another profession. That is what they get payed for. That is why they are professionals. . . because it is their profession.
Right across Highway 9 from the homes with the honeysuckled fence is a pharmacy with a parking lot that is ‘maintained’ by ‘gardeners’. It looks like a parking lot. There are some nice young but shady elms that were recently pruned up for clearance by professional arborists who did a rather impressive job. Below the elms is a mixture of typical ‘low maintenance’ plants that are often found in parking lots, including lily-of-the-Nile, African iris, Oregon grape and Indian hawthorn, with a few dwarf Heavenly bamboo to add a slight bit of Japanese ethnic diversity into an otherwise African-American landscape.
Except for the elms and other young trees, none of the plants are exemplary. They are all tough plants that are resilient to the climate and abuse that they get in a pharmacy parking lot. Their main problem is the ‘maintenance’ performed by the ‘professional gardeners’. I could go on about this, but for now, I just want to describe what was done to the Heavenly bamboo.
It never really looks that good. It does not get a chance to. At least this time of year, this particular cultivar of Heavenly bamboo gets some rather nice color on it. Even if the foliage is mutilated and crowed from a lack of ‘proper’ pruning and an excess of ‘improper’ pruning, the reddish or burgundy color is pretty from a distance. At least, it would have been.
The ‘gardeners’ cut all the foliage off, just as it was beginning to color. Yep. It is all gone. The canes were cut into these tightly shorn but somehow awkwardly asymmetrical cylinders with angular edges around the circular and flat tops. How does one put that much effort into shearing something so tightly, and perfecting the flat top, without getting it symmetrical? Why put that much effort into ruining something just before the performance that it waited all year for, and just prior to the longest time of year before the weather warms enough for it to recover?
Shear abuse – with shears.
Perhaps those are questions that Rhody is pondering in the picture. Perhaps he just wants to leave a ‘message’ for the ‘gardeners’.