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Feb Aiken
                                                        Regional





Plant Barber Shop Interviews

By Amanda Whatley Owen

web posted February 19, 2018
GARDENING –  With warmer weather approaching, gardeners all across our area are wanting to tidy up our yards and get ready for Spring.  Many of our plants have been hibernating and are now about to resume their role in your landscape.  Trouble is, they are a little scraggly and unkempt from their winter nap.  

Just like people, plants have preferences in their looks, and what style suits them the best.  Just for fun, I thought it would be interesting to "interview" a few plants and ask them what styles they prefer.  Here is what they had to say.:

Interview One: The Knockout Rose Bush
"We are the most commonly thought-about plant during the month of February, because everyone loves cut flowers in their rose bouquet for Valentines Day.  But that's our cousins. 

We Knockout Roses are not ordinarily used in floral arrangements, but we are one of the most common roses used in landscapes and gardens.  People sometimes forget about us during this month, but this is the month we want to be pruned. 

Our flowers and limbs look the best when pruned around Valentines Day before our showy roses starting bringing life your yard.  We prefer hand pruners or loppers and we like a nice good, low cut.  We only need to have about two feet of our branches left coming out because we grow so rapidly.  We like this low cut in order to keep our look in a nice natural bush shape. 

If not pruned the way we like, we can get overbearing, making your other plants upset with us.  Those other plants will become so bothered that they may lose their green color, or not bloom as pretty. 

Interview Two:  Crape Myrtles
We are South Carolina's second favorite tree other than the Palm tree, of course.  We love to show folks our classy, native, Southern style. 

We come in multiple colors such as lavender, red, white, and pink.  We feel we look are best when we are nice and large.....though some people feel we look our best when all our limbs are chopped off to the ground.  We hate this.  When people cut our limbs off all the way to the ground, we pop back out and look like a small version of what we want to look like.  Believe me, we are not happy. 

Personally, we love our barbers to give us just a light trim.  We don't like any of our dead branches to get in the way of our showy color.  That is all we want…just to be clean and natural, because what says I am a native other than, I am all-natural. 

Interview Three: Hydrangeas
Well of course, gardeners love us!  They love cutting our blooms for arrangements on their table, and for adding a color boost to their shadier areas (though a few of our cousins prefer more sun).  But look, read my petals, we do not do winter.  Typically, we die back to just sticks during this time. 

For our Spring look, we like to look natural as well.  Just simply clean and clip back our dead limbs to make way for our fresh, new growth to come in.  Sometimes, we can get a little carried away in the area where you put us, but with some small hand pruners, you can just give us a light prune if we start to embarrass you by showing off more than what you planned. Still, it's odd that other plants can get intimidated by how lush and full we can become.

Interview Four: Azaleas:
We azaleas feel the most pressured to look our best during Spring. It makes us a little nervous that people from all over the world come to the CSRA to enjoy The Master's Tournament and to talk about our beauty, and how lovely we look.

We like also like a natural look.  With hand pruners, take some of our dead limbs out, then let us be.  We look our best this way.  America and the rest of the world seem to agree, since we are talked about on national television so much. 


Interview Five: Boxwood
Yeah we may not have all the pretty little colors like some.....but folks love us!  We stay green all year around and fit well in almost any landscape, even formal ones.  We like the hum of electric pruners. 

Just keep us clean, tight, and neat.  Promise, you can hardly hurt us.  We tend to go nuts if we have little tips sticking out of us.  We are all about a clean shave just like our friends, the Loropetalum.  They totally agree with us. 

Interview Five: Dogwoods
Everyone sees us blooming and they go Spring-crazy !  We are one of the first to start pushing out our showy pink blooms.  Since we get a head start before most on showing off our beauty we prefer not to be bothered till later, after our sap is done flowing though us, about the time when we quit blooming.  Even then, just a light trim will do us just fine. Loppers would be all you would need.

Interview Six: Leyland Cypress
I am a great border in your yard, I can grow aggressively and large. Sometimes I get sick and you can take some small pieces from me other than that, just let me be. I am not sure why some barbers suggest I get cut, I hate it.

There you have it, from the plants themselves.  I hope you had as much fun as I did "interviewing" some of the well known plants in the garden on what they prefer.
 
I always suggest pruning, even lightly, once a year to maintain a neat, tidy garden.  Keeping a tidy garden can reduce insects and disease.  Healthy plants are happy plants.
 
Make sure to take those clippings out back to the compost pile to recycle to the soil for even happier plants.  Refer to the column from a few months ago titled, Composting - Striking Pay Dirt".
 
Next week, we'll have Pro Landscape tips on selecting and installing base plants in a landscape, in Mandy's Friendly Garden..




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