Summer Pruning

True gardeners know that a good rule of thumb for pruning in the Summer is not to prune Spring flowering shrubs after July 15th. Essentially, you’ll be pruning off next year’s flowers if you do.

Nevertheless, I set out to prune forsythia and climbing hydrangea on August 1st. Number one – it was the first time I had a chance to do it. And – number two – I figured that with a longer season (Thank you global warming!) I might get away with it. Either way – it had to be done.

Time will tell if I’m right about the longer season, but the 3 story barn shows immediately what good I accomplished. The hydrangea was growing up onto the roof, in through the siding, and through the gutters. That plant was well on its way to tearing down the barn!


Something had to be done . . . .


Standing high on the ladder and reaching as far as I could, I began to whittle it into shape . . . .


getting the thick vines away from the edges, ripping them out from between the boards, removing enough foliage to see the beautiful sailing ship weather vane mounted high on the side of the barn, all while balanced precariously on that ladder was a chore. But – here’s my reward . . .


(4 huge tractor loads of cut vines later) a nicely shaped accent on the north wall of the barn. This is a climbing hydrangea – tamed! Now I’m going to tackle the forsythia hedge – wish me luck!


About richardfrisbie

I'm a professional baker, reader, bookseller, publisher, columnist, photographer, cook, hiker, kayaker, freelance writer, and workaholic who likes to garden
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3 Responses to Summer Pruning

  1. Oh my hydrangea! That is one crazy plant. Is it doing that without any supporting trellis, just clinging to the barn siding? I have a tiny new climbing hydrangea and I am going to go talk to it about being a wussy little baby. Then again, it’s on the front of my house, so maybe not…

    • Hello kitchenmage! No supports needed. The vines grow hair-like roots that dig into the wood (look closely at the photos to see where I’ve removed them – and the paint!) and the new growth gets into the tiniest cracks As they grow in length and girth, the cracks spread wider. The plant was growing through the walls into the barn itself – it can be quite beautifully destructive! Be careful what you wish for . . .

  2. Naturally it was one of the hottest days of the Summer! If you are wondering what to do in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mt region of New York State when you are not following my gardening advice . . . subscribe to my Examiner page to see the insider’s view of what’s happening here now.

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