Most gardeners, myself included, are usually most excited by what we can add to our gardens. It just as important, though, to think about what we can remove from our gardens to achieve design goals.
After you have finished your fall planting and clean-up, mid-winter is a perfect time to re-evaluate the current state of the mature plants in your garden. Strategic and well-informed pruning of established shrubs and trees is one of the easiest and simplest ways to transform a landscape. Thinning or “limbing up” small and large trees and shrubs can create entirely new opportunities for herbaceous perennials, groundcovers and bulbs. This practice can also enhance the viewshed of a garden, allowing the gardener to draw the eye along a desired path. Lastly, the overall health of mature plants is almost always bolstered by thinning, as it allows for free air movement around limbs and leaves, which discourages pests like scale and white fly that carry plant diseases.
Join horticulturists Keith Means and Evan Clements for Historic Columbia’s Winter Pruning Workshop on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 9 – 11 a.m. Here at Historic Columbia, we do the majority of our major pruning in the winter, when plants are dormant and branching structure is easier to see. Utilizing the vast collection of trees and shrubs planted throughout the extensive gardens of Historic Columbia’s Hampton-Preston Mansion and Robert Mills House properties, attendees will learn basics such as species-specific growth and form, what tools to use, and how to use them. This workshop will take place from 9 – 11 a.m. at the Gardens of the Robert Mills House. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Guests are advised to dress accordingly and bring their favorite gloves and pruners.
This article was originally published in the Columbia Star.