Six on Saturday: 9.3.19 Further destruction

Following on from last weeks destruction of the conifers I still have some more plants in need or pruning and removing.

1. Pruning dogwood

This dogwood has been in need of a trim for a while. It had grown to the height of the fence and across the border and through next doors fence. I’ve been leaving off pruning it until Winter was over. The bright red stems add some Winter colour even without the leaves on. With dogwoods, there are several pruning options. You can thin it out each year and take a bit off the top or you can go for a more drastic cut down to just above ground level. I’ve been thinning this out the last few years but it has still got a bit too large. Also, the stems lose their vibrant red so a cut to ground level will let the plant replace the tired stems.

I’ve then spent the time cutting it small to get it in the brown bin. As I’m not currently driving I’m trying to do my pruning over a few weeks so it can go away in the brown bin or compost bin where appropriate to avoid tip runs. I’ve put a few of the thicker stems to the side for the woodpile to attract in the wildlife.

Then put a few stems in pots to see if they’ll root for a few extra dogwoods.

2. Euonymus

The euonymus hedge at the bottom of the garden isn’t the most exciting plant but it provides a solid wall of green all year round to block the view of the compost bins. Again, like the dogwood, it was in need of a trim as it was looking a bit unstable on top. I’ve trimmed and thinned it out a bit.

3. Lupins

I really like lupins but they seem to be the favourite food of the slugs and snails in my garden. But the combination of lupins backed by foxgloves and hollyhocks is too good not to try again. I planted a few in my first year in the garden but only one survived. The existing one is coming back up. This had deep blue flowers. The local florist was selling lupins cheap so I’ve bought a red and a white lupin to join this area. I’ll need to top the beer traps up in preparation.

4. New growth

There is lots of new growth pushing up in the borders. The sedums and aquilegias leaves are showing in their little clusters of rosettes. Then forget me nots fill any spare ground.

5. Sambucus nigra “black lace”

The next plant for the chop is the dwarf apple tree. It has been given a couple of years to prove its worth in the garden and it still hasn’t. It grows untidy and is too dwarf. I have got enough apples to make chutney in the first year but it isn’t enough to justify the space it is taking up. In a small garden I don’t want to live with plants I don’t like. To replace it I have a Sambucus nigra. This may not look great at the moment but it will hopefully grow up with rich dark leaves. Creamy pink buds change to red berries in Autumn that the birds can eat. I’ve seen them thriving in gardens locally so I’m confident it can tolerate the salty sea winds here on the East Coast.

6. Crocus

My crocus have been later than many of the surrounding gardens. We’d seen spectacular varieties at the in-laws. Mine have mainly come up purple. A few whites came up but seem to have been trampled over. I’m tempted to add some drifts into the lawn next year when the building work is complete. Entice in more of the early bees.

So a lot of change going on and more to go as a few more shrubs need removing with the building work. But hopefully, I will have the lawn cleared of debris and can get the patio set again soon. If you’d like to take part in six on Saturday read the guide.

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33 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 9.3.19 Further destruction”

  1. Good advice for dogwood. Mine begins to be old and loses its colors I will be tempted to do the same, next automn or winter.
    It ‘s a very good year for crocuses ; the flowers are beautiful but the wind and the rain of these last days make them quickly decline.

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  2. Beautiful crocus photo, they are such lovely flowers whatever colour they are. The black elder is a great plant, and it will take some hard pruning when it grows up. I’ve got a couple of misery apple trees in my little plot that I would love to get rid of, I’m working on it!

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  3. Dwarf apples seem like a good idea for a small garden but often seem to fail to deliver. I think a slightly more vigorous tree, summer pruned to restrict the size is a better bet. Then you need a pollinator. It’s no wonder people give up.

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    1. Yes this is what I figured. A more vigorous tree cared for would be better or I may tree some step over apple trees along the fence. One of the reasons I’d kept it was for the wildlife and while it did produce a reasonable number of apples for a small tree I’m surrounded by gardens owned by an ageing population. The area is awash with apple trees that are never harvested. The sambucus I think will suit my conditions betters, give a nice display of flowers and still give some wildlife benefit to the birds with its berries.

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  4. I got rid of my last apple tree a few years ago and don’t regret it. Whilst the fruits may be delicious, their quantity didn’t balance against the space the trees took up and the work involved in maintaining them. In season, the local farmers’ market sells perfectly good locally grown apples. If you like chutney and grow tomatoes, the end-of-season green fruits make wonderful chutney for a fraction of the effort. Back when I had dogwoods here I routinely cut them down to ground every spring which, I found, produced better stems the following winter.

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  5. Is that a dish of meal worms? If so, for chickens? I know they love them with a passion! I used to entertain the children at my former work place by letting them toss a handful of freeze dried ones to the baby chicks. It was hilarious! The chicks would peep and run and chase each other, playing tug a war, when there were plenty.
    I gave up on my apple tree when borers got it. I also got few apples without worms, even though I sprayed and covered each and every individual apple with a nylon “sock” made to keep the moths away. Didn’t work!

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  6. I bought a Sambucus Black Lace as a small plant many years ago from B&Q for my garden in Worthing. It grew into an enormous tree (10ft at least) and in later years I had to prune it really hard to keep it under control. The only problem with that is it never flowered as it only flowers on previous years grow. You pays your money and takes your choice – it’s a fabulous tree.

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  7. Those crocus are a lovely colour. I’ve spent ages chopping up prunings nice and small to fit in the green waste bin. Strangley therapeutic but takes a while!

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  8. Black Lace is a beautiful variety of Elder. I’ve had one for a couple of years now. I think my plan is to let it flower then cut it back to keep to a size. I had a similar variety before and didn’t prune it each year. It flowered well but the berries didn’t persist like the ones on the wild variety.

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  9. Love the crocus! I said on someone else’s blog that I think I like them so much because it seems like there is no time from when they pop out of the ground and when the bloom. Instant gratification!

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  10. This is sooo true
    ”In a small garden I don’t want to live with plants I don’t like.”
    I’ve just removed two hydrangeas from pots because of all the hassle they gave me last year with white mold. OH wanted to plant them elsewhere in the garden and is sulking because I said no for the very reason you said.

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  11. Sambucus nigra is a lovely tree though grows quite large! Pretty pink flowers. I have a golden variety which is probably about 2m tall now. Flowers are small and quite pretty as is the spring foliage, but I have not seen any berries on it in the three years I have been here. Love your photo of the crocuses!

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