In the wide wild world of gardening, one active subject that still seems to mystify me is pruning. I’ve received the credentials as a Certified Horticulturist, a Master Gardener and have worked extensively in the field of gardening doing back breaking jobs for over ten years. However, pruning is still one of those tasks that I find myself researching every season. Indeed, pruning is a skill, but Nature has a way of reflecting our skill level through plant performance over the coming seasons…that is, if the plant survives. A little known fact is that bad pruning accounts for 80 percent of work done by both professionals and homeowners. It is not to say that we should be disheartened or discouraged to prune, but perhaps be more willing to incur greater patience with Nature. Nature has her own laws and we are much more successful when her laws for life are obeyed. Each plant is a living breathing thing that serves its own purpose that is way beyond our knowledge and understanding. To many, a plant is just a plant. To Nature, plants are an integral part of life that has purpose that extends beyond our vision. Plants feed creatures of all types and in many ways. They help birds, insects, the soil food web and all of the millions of living organisms that work diligently year round beneath our feet. In the secret life of plants, there is much more than meets the eye.
There are countless books, videos and instructors who lend guidance to good pruning practices. It is true that not all plants should be treated the same or pruned in the same way. Some plants require pruning for different reasons and during different seasons. Without proper knowledge, the end result could be the end of the plant or the beginning of an eyesore. As stewards for life, taking time to watch, listen and learn are key tools to increase our knowledge and understanding of life’s needs. I don’t know if I’ll ever master the art of pruning; but, as the years pass I find that I am more inclined to appreciate the mastery and art of Nature. Writing this blog calls to mind some resounding words of wisdom: Let nature be your guide. There is plenty of wisdom to be gained in a garden, in nature and in daily life. Knowledge and understanding are actions, whereas wisdom is a state of being; and wisdom is merely knowledge in action.