lundi 28 février 2011

Boughcuts do not hurt

The mess

It is still the forenoon, and I have finished the yews.

I have not cleaned up. There is the Nordic Combined team competition. I have my priorities straight.

Last evening, I lopped off (makes it sound so easy; it's not) a meter in height. This morning, I got up, took the dogs and the trash out, made my coffee and gritted my teeth. I was determined to be useful (or yewsful) and headed down to the far edge of the middle terrace to check out the growth on the 'Daniel Deronda' clematis I thought I killed last August, but which I discovered to have been sprouting discreet leaf buds amidst the overgrown ivy and the blades of the daylilies, and it occurred to me to see what the yews looked like from below. Would they be better shorter from that perspective? Fia sat her butt down in the St. John's Wort bank behind the little hedge of box to watch me watch.

"Fia. Sors de là."

I don't need to yell. I don't need to get excited. I just need to tell her, You are not welcome to sit in my St. John's Wort. No, not even if it isn't high season yet. She hopped over the box and sat her butt down next to me, and then she watched vaguely for whatever it was I was watching.

Shorter. It could definitely be shorter by a good 60 cm.

Besides, when you realize how tall they had grown, you understand that the branches are very thick right up to the top of the bush. It's actually better to take them down farther, as well as to remove large branches near the perimeter, than you might actually want them so that you can let slender, new growth push upwards and outwards. It makes future pruning, if you actually do it regularly, much easier.

Fia followed me back up through the fallen wisteria leaves and the yew boughs covering the steps, and I went to work.

It was hard-going. For the fattest of the boughs, I had to wedge one long handle against my rib cage and use both hands to pull the other handle, and that balanced on my ladder. I don't bother fearing injury. I'll deal with it when it happens. It would be a lot easier if I got my tools sharpened, though. One more item on my "to do" list to infinity and beyond. Bough after bough landed on the cutting pile, and up and down the ladder I went, checking out my progress. Fia sat and watched. She didn't even race around the fish-pond-in-a-fountain with the semi-shredded plastic nursery pots she had left littered about the terrace.

She is becoming a fine garden dog.

The last tall bough down, I went and got the electric hedge trimmer and ran it up and down the sides of the yews. One had grown far portlier than the other. I took the pruning shears and removed some of the largest boughs at the edge of the left yew.

Then, Fia and I headed back down to the daylily bed and the 'Daniel Deronda' to take another look back up.

It would do. It's a little bare for now, but new little shoots will push their way out and green it up soon.

After lunch, clean-up time. And despite the damp, I might try to make a burning fire.

If I don't clean up, my husband will step right into the boughs on the steps in the dark, fall and break his neck heading up from his motorcycle. I will hear, PU-tain! And then he won't love what I did so much.


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