Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Garden Diary: limbing the cedars

Last June I posted a photo of cedars (Juniperus virginiana) with tangles of dead limbs. Pruned up to the green canopy, the trees could be an asset. But these were a mess. Half their branches looked, and were, dead. They spoiled the view. You can see the trees could make striking verticals - if they were cleaned up a bit (well, a lot).

In a moment of folly, knowing I probably couldn't afford it, I asked Bruce of Paxson Hill Farms if he could do the job. He did. Last Friday. (If you live near the New Hope (PA)-Lambertville (NJ) area, Paxson Hill is a little piece of paradise on top of a hill above the Delaware, and a nursery with a truly unique (I really mean 'unique' - no exaggeration) selection of plants, plus peacocks, guinea hens, Imus, white turkeys, assorted other animals, and a park-like garden of streams, waterfalls, a pavilion on a hill.)

Here are the results. A bad photo taken with the sun too high and bright, but I hope you get the point. By removing the lower branches, all the space around the trees has been opened for planting.

Now I have a new area of the garden to think about over winter - well, to obsess about. The next image is a close-up view of the newly trimmed trees. The little cedar in the middle will be cut down.

This will create even more open area, almost certainly for a naturalistic planting, though I'm not yet sure what that might be. Here's another view that better shows how the area has been cleared (imagine you can see through the Miscanthus). I think I'll be spending time this winter with Rick Darke's The American Woodland Garden.

All this is part of my long-term plan to find more ways to open the garden into the surrounding woods, turning what was a crowded woodland into an open garden with a big piece of sky. The big job of clearing was done three years ago. Now I continue to whittle away to create openings, more space and more light wherever the wall of forest can yield.


  1. This is one chore I hate doing in the garden. But unfortunately it must be done. So rewarding when its done though! For me winter is the time to do it.



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