Friday, May 28, 2010

Severe Cutbacks

A few weeks ago I was taken to task about my word choice. It seems, in the opinion of more than one reader, that using "sucks" when describing many of the gardens I see might prevent me from reaching a wider audience.

I also mused about what a wonderful world it would be if we could eliminate gas-fueled tools. A reader offered, "Pretty good stuff. But I'd tone down the attack on folks who use power tools…I don't use chemicals in the garden, but do use gas in the mowers. I'm a sinner, not a saint."

Mae West allusion aside, I guess should set the record straight. I know that power tools are here to stay - they're just so damn convenient.

[Darn it! I said "damn". That pretty much locks up spending eternity in H-E Double Hockey Sticks.]

I've gotta admit, power tools are fast, convenient and allows a gardener to keep his monthly charges down. I only wish the guys wielding these tools had a microgram of understanding about plant physiology. As long as I'm dreaming, what if they had imagination and a sense of play?

Shear Madness - Plant Physiology 101

Whether it's you or a hired gardener shearing a hedge, keep in mind that leaves are the solar collectors that drive the plant's engine. Sunlight provides energy to convert carbon dioxide to carbohydrates, the food the plant needs to survive. If you're continually shearing off the productive leaves, it's like throwing a blanket over your solar collectors.

Read the rest and check out the delightful pruning fantasies at

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