Thursday, July 20, 2017


I learned how to trim hedges long ago when I was only 10 years old. We lived on a ranch and one of the gardeners took a special interest in teaching me his secrets. Now, 50 years later, I keep those secrets alive each time I work in the garden. 

I love to keep my hedges very neat and tidy. That's because the rest of my natural garden appears a bit too wild & crazy for most of the neighborhood.  In the above photo, you can see a typical garden across the street. 

A few years ago I met a gardener on one of my bike rides. He had trained a bunch of his young, wild Carolina laurel trees into beautiful hedges. Discovering his garden was one of the most wonderful moments in my entire gardening life. From his example, I learned what to do with all the myriads volunteer laurel cherry trees  found growing in my flower beds. I would transform them into beautiful additions to the garden instead of pulling them up and putting them on the compost heap!

During our conversation, I dreaded asking him how LONG it would take to get a nice looking hedge. I was shocked; he said things really start to look good by year 3!  I was expecting him to say 10 years!
The hedge shown above is now starting its third year of trimmed growth on the bottom. I'm starting a second portion at the top. It will be ready for its first shaping soon.

Most gardeners seem to have a number of traits in common; they love cats (or dogs), they love reading, they love gardening, and they love being creative (artistically or otherwise).
I have a large dose of art in me as well as gardening.
As you can see, I'm working on a much more complicated project with this set of three trees.
This project will take another good year to start looking like the multi-level lines I've outlined above. I'm excited each time I think about it.

Here's one of our beautiful native holly trees. I'm going to gently shape it since my neighbors are fretting about the berries dropping across the fence. According to everything I've read, the berries only cause a mild stomach ache to pets. It will be a big challenge, but I'm up for it and both of us will be happy!

 I'll end with a nice view of our dwarf yaupon coupled with some other garden plants.

Happy Gardening! Find a great reason to get outside today!


  1. Well, you've actually been a big help with this post. I have volunteer cherry laurels everywhere. I'm constantly pulling them out.

    I also have a problem with a nice neighbor who keeps every outside light on known to man. One of those lights shines into my backyard and makes it difficult to sleep. I've been looking for a TALL hedge to plant to block that light. Bingo - Cherry Laurel. Thank you from the bottom of my sleep-deprived pillow-over-the-head heart.

  2. Hi David, I'm so glad to see you're back. I've missed your garden and your great sense of humor. Your garden is looking as good as ever, even in the midst of summer.

  3. Love the juxtaposition of the wild garden with the formal shrubs! Your garden is looking good!

  4. Your garden looks delightful. I agree there is great satisfaction to be gained from nicely pruning plants. But, I think for many it is a hard thing to do even if you do read the books. That pruning always seems so complicated. I have two pairs of hedge trimmers and those are what I like to use for my fig ivy wall. Now there is a wall I do religiously trim. And surprisingly I am trimming up a Texas sage so that it is more tree like.

  5. Like Rebecca, I appreciate the garden where some is wild or looser, with some other plants shaped. Philip in Austin does that to great effect. Your garden brings order to wildness and relates well with neighbors' groomed yards.


I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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