Spring means planting, or at least thinking about it, but also elicits pruning and cutting out dead branches. Clayton went to work on two apple trees that are next to our house. The one most visible had the most dead branches, but it also holds two birdfeeders all winter long, and the birds have favorite branches to perch on as they wait for openings at the feeders. Clayton only cut down branches on this apple tree where he didn’t routinely see birds perching. (What a considerate gardener!)
The other apple tree got a real trimming in order to prevent thick branches from cracking under the weight of unnecessary ones. All this opened up a clear space underneath, and Clayton, on surveying the carnage declared, “I want to plant a yellow flowering rhododendron right there – where the thin branch is angled back onto the tree – so that we have an attractive color in this area in future springs.” Then, having thought about our poor success with rhododendrons and azaleas, he modified his plans, “I am going to prepare the soil in that spot for a year before planting the rhododendron.” How a true gardener thinks.
I’ll report back in two years.