by Leslie Cox; Saturday; January 16, 2021

A few breaks in the weather this last week allowed a couple of walkabouts the garden without hindrance of having to hang onto an umbrella. This freedom from encumbrance encouraged a more intimate connectivity with my happy place. It tickled the creative juices fueled by the vision of winter-defying buds insistent on their promise of the coming spring. Despite the mess of rain-sodden leaf mulch across my garden beds, I glimpsed the awakening beauty.


Leucothoe fontanesiana 'Rainbow'Oh, there are big plans afoot now for this year’s gardening season. A few more mature shrubs need to be reined in a bit having gotten a little too large when I was not looking particularly hard at them. Not to do myself a huge disservice, I did tackle three unruly shrubs last year and pruned them into a semblance of moderate control. My eye is on the restrained male Skimmia japonica, Viburnum x burkwoodii and Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’ to make sure they adhere to their individual boundaries.

But that was last year and I see there is much, much to do this year before there is any hope of truly enjoying the botanical display from the comfort of my chair.

First and foremost, there are some rugosa roses which have escaped the confines of the front fence and are threatening to jaywalk across the street to the field beyond. As much as the few passing motorists enjoy the almost summer-long floral display and captivating scent, they would not be pleased with any errant scratches to their car’s paint finish.

While strolling the fence line, mentally selecting which rugosa roses had to be dug up, I noticed a young shrub tucked amongst the roses on the inside. Definitely not where the chance seedling belonged and would have to be removed. It looked like a Spiraea ssp., possibly a Spiraea x bumalda ‘Crispa’…crisp leaf spiraea. John would be happy. He wants one of these for his garden.

Thinking about the shrubs in my garden, I made a mental note to start a list of which ones I should take cuttings from to grow new plants. If the weather stays decently mild, I could do this chore a little earlier than normal. I noticed John has already stuck a few Buddleja davidii ‘Harlequin’ cuttings in the ground at the base of his shrub. His philosophy is: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

He is forever pushing the envelope. It is what gardeners do.