But the wildness can be tamed by adding plantings that remain more rigid in their growth, more traditionally formal in habit. While the hedges here in the Fairegarden pale by comparison to the yews of Sissinghurst trimmed so expertly as to resemble geometric steel rather than living plant material seen above, experience has helped raise our trimming up a notch. To see more about Sissinghurst and our visit to England, click here.
Evergreens fit the taming requirements nicely, adding interest and structure during the whole year but they are especially noticeable when the flowers have faded and the leaves have fallen. We have finally tamed the row of Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Gold Mop’ that backs the Azalea Walk. Click here to find out why that taming was needed.
Behind the Gold Mops and in front of the arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’ lies the veggie garden. Unsightly in its cage of plastic rabbit fencing to keep the critters out and the food crops safe, this sunny strip runs along the back of the property line. Privacy is provided by the arborvitae and the Chamaecyparis provides a golden screen for the produce growing area. Both get a yearly shearing to keep the pathways clear and to allow the sun to shine where needed.
Trimming those hedges can be a daunting chore, especially when done in June when the temperatures can range from hot to magma. The cutting of the boxwood hedge, Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Wintergreen’ that surrounds the Knot Garden is particularly hard on my back due to the angle at which the whirring nine pound Stihl electric hedge trimmer must be held to get those points and curves just so. We are trying to allow the whole hedge to grow taller so I don’t have to bend over quite so much, while still keeping the overall shape. The progression of this shape can be followed by clicking here.
This week we decided to tackle the taxing task while the weather was more agreeable and there was no danger of accidentally cutting flowers or stepping on stems but before frost arrives. It went well, better than expected in fact. (Above frosty photo from December of 2011.)
The season may change when the hedges are trimmed, the Knot Garden boxwood haircut is better done in the coolth of fall. It was almost enjoyable. A little more control of the chaos was exerted over the full blown pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris, which was tied up with a bit of twine so I could work around it without fear of harm. I think the ponytail becomes you!