Good tools make all the difference. The loppers cut through branches in the 2″ range like butter. I finally wised up and started using them to cut back grasses too, saving a lot of wear and tear on overworked wrists. I had my old standby secateurs sharpened at Garden Fever and bought another, smaller version to stand in while waiting (their sharpener works in batches, so there’s a gap between dropping things off and picking them up). Between the two sizes, sprigs and twigs (ha ha) are a snap. A collapsable rake gets into tight spaces to clean up fallen debris. I’ve been searching for the right gloves to wear at work (more on that later). These didn’t work in that situation but are great for pruning protection. Finally, that little retractable saw is surprisingly effective in encounters with branches too big for the loppers.
Ceanothus ‘Blue Jeans’ was afflicted with several split limbs. Once I got started on it, the chaotic scramble of crossed or gangly branches kept goading me on to create a significant brush pile. In the process, many buds were sacrificed. I hate to think of a spring without the welcoming sight of the big blue bush. Maybe that bucket of branches will come through with a forced show to make up for it.
Meanwhile, over at Joy Creek, this Magnolia dresses up a stormy sky.
It’s furry buds are swelling with the promise of the spring show we know is coming, even if it sometimes seems a bit tardy.