P90728Without prior notice, I was informed on Friday morning of a workday on Saturday morning at Felton Presbyterian Church. That was yesterday. Since there was no time to get other chores done in advance, I was an hour late. Considering that we only work for four hours between eight and noon, one hour is rather significant. I felt compelled to attend regardless. A few friends who are parishioners of Felton Presbyterian Church appreciate it.
The difficulty of not attending is that there are several other volunteers who do attend, and they all have very different ideas, or no idea at all, about how to accomplish what needs to be done in the landscape. It is amazing how much damage can be done with a few light duty power tools and too much undirected ambition. Even when I am there, it is difficult to convince the others that I know more about horticulture than all of them combined.
For the past several years, I had been pruning a flowering crabapple tree to renovate the branch structure that was mutilated by someone with loppers and power hedge shears. Yes, hedge shears. I had pruned the tree for clearance above a parking lot on one side, and a patio on the other, but with low branches in between to partly obscure the view of parked cars from the patio. Bloom was spectacular, and not compromised by the pruning.
Then I missed a workday. Even though the flowering crabapple tree did not need to be pruned at that time, someone lopped away the lower limbs indiscriminately, and then sheared the top! There were mutilated stubs all over the new exterior of the canopy. Much of the blooming stems for the following season were removed. It was very disappointing to see all of my effort wasted so pointlessly. Now, I need to start the whole process over.
However, when I got there today, a planter box below the crabapple tree was being dismantled and removed. I could not work in the area, so must return to start the process of renovating the crabapple tree. Realistically, it should be done while the tree is dormant in winter, even if it compromises bloom for the following spring somewhat. The tree is so gnarly and congested now that it is unlikely that anyone would notice a few less blossoms.
As frustrating as it can be, we actually get quite a bit done. These lily-of-the-Nile in the picture above were one of our projects many years ago. They were recycled from a garden in Aptos from which they needed to be removed. We split, groomed and plugged them. Most were promptly removed and discarded by someone else who did not realize that we had just installed them. But hey, at least these few survived and continue to bloom.

9 thoughts on “Workday

    1. Oh, the lily-of-the-Nile? They are rad! these are smaller than what I grew when I was a kid, but I really dig them anyway. The blooms stand higher over the foliage. (Mine had taller foliage, but the flower stalks were about the same.) I like all of the old classic varieties. The newer ones are getting a bit silly. They are ery common here, so many landscape designers dislike them, but I am no designer.

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  1. One of the reasons why I periodically refer to my husband as the Spoiler on my blog (other than the fact that I think otherwise innocent parties don’t deserve names in my blog) is that he took an electric hedge trimmer to our Japanese maple. His reasoning was that its branches needed a trim because he couldn’t walk by it. He is now forbidden to touch it, but I am not sure it will recover.

    Karla

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    1. THAT is one of the main reasons I dislike Japanese maples. So many landscape designers prescribe them because they are trendy, but then no one can find a so-called ‘gardener’ who knows or cares to prune them properly.

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  2. Lovely Agapanthus Tony – If I had my way I’d ban powertools from most of my gardens – chainsaws just make it so easy and moderns seem to think they’re not doing any if they don’t have a buzzing engine in their hands.

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    1. I don’t get it. I am a professional, and I don’t use power tools much at all. I rarely use the chain saw, and I only use power hedge trimming contraptions for big hedges that can actually be shorn. (There is only one in all the landscapes at work now.) We do have a mowing tractor for the big athletic fields, but there is someone here to operate it. I am pleased that I don’t need to. I don’t mind power tools for applications that they are actually useful for, but there are not many such applications. People really feel that they are better equipped than I am if they have their power tools.

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