Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shrubbery! A noun that sounds like an adjective.

As in, and as is the present case, “My garden is far too shrubbery!”

This is the time of year when the shrubbery shows its muscles. Various shrubs have expanded to twice or thrice their winter dormant (pruned) size, and it’s time to get out the shears. The plants along the borders are feeling oppressed, starved of sun and space. I hear you, Potentilla! I’m coming, Schizostylis! Major cur-back time for the nine-barks, the Forsythia, the mock orange, the ever-aggressive thimbleberry, and the elderberries – except for Big Blue. Blue elderberry is a late bloomer, just now flowering, and he doesn’t get chopped back until October. He is now about fourteen feet tall, and within a month will sport sprays of powder blue berries. He’s a bit much, I guess, but sometimes a bit much is okay.

Big Blue (last year), and the berries yet to come.


Anonymous said...

I see some Watson's willowherb in your shrubbery. A few years ago Richmond Parks decided to attack the reed canary grass at Terra Nova by plowing it under. The next year Watson's willow herb came up--hundred of thousands of them. The year after that the reed canary grass was back and the willowherb had moved on--to your garden perhaps.


Amy said...

I hope to have this problem in a few years! We just started planting a mixed hedge this spring. I can't hear "shrubbery" without thinking of Monty Python :)

Hugh Griffith said...

Don, You have a keen eye. I pulled those willowherbs this morning, but not until after taking the picture. And yes, the reed canary grass is thriving at Terra Nova.

Amy, If you plant what I planted, you will have a hearty hedge in about two years. I also relate "shrubbery" to Python. It's an inherently funny word.

Kirk Mantay said...

It's year 4 in our native shrub yard. We had to give away about 20% of our plants because they finally all took off.

RPL - I will trade you a rooted shoot of black elderberry for a blue one! The bugs and mildew may kill Big Blue down here but I'd like to try it.

What's not to love about Phalaris, NOT.

Hugh Griffith said...

Swamp Thing,

It would be an interesting experiment, assuming the border folks were amenable to the north-south migration of elderplants.

Your black elderberry is Sambucus canadensis? Why don't I have one of those? Scientific names and national boundaries seem not to be on the same page.

Anonymous said...

Alas, I have no interesting and relevant information about shrubs to share. However, if any one is channeling Monty Python, I'd be happy to reminisce.

Kirk Mantay said...

Yup, canadensis. Everything in our part of the world is "virginicus," or "carolinensis" or "jeffersonius" because Thomas Jefferson (a Virginian) was the first European to actively start taxonomy of North American flora & fauna in the mid 1700s.

Sadly, a rooted clone of elderberry would be statistically more likely to be interdicted at the border than a teddy bear stuffed with crystal meth. So much for plant experimentation.