One great thing about winter...
...is that we don't have to do anything in the
Yet we do go out when the weather's reasonable. There's always
something to see and we can prune, just so long as we stop short of
hard clips that would expose inner, still-tender wood to suddenly
This week we pruned a falsecypress to keep its size down
and to harvest some of its rich, sensuous greens for holiday
We begin (above) with two Hinoki falsecypresses
(Chamaecyparis obtusa varieties, probably 'Gracilis')
flanking the bay window. They're just big enough, bordering on too
This is a species that can reach 100' in the wild. Its dwarf
forms have potential ranging from 6' to 60'. Here is one
(below, left), probably another 'Gracilis', that's overgrown its
space. It could be reduced by pruning, with skill, over a few
We'd rather not see our two charges get that large. So in
September we cut one to reduce it to where it can grow for about
two years before needing another trim.
On the right, we're finished. Can you tell? If you can't tell it
was clipped unless you have a yardstick such as the building or
ladder in both "before" and "after" photos, that's good. We want it
to retain its natural, irregularly pyramidal shape.
We left its companion unclipped, holding off until winter so
we'd be able to renew our stash of fresh cut greens for the
Once again, after we finished cutting, we wondered, "Does it
Now the two are a matched set once again.
While they're outside, dreaming of being all they can be, we're
inside, enjoying the greenery.
When we pruned together in September, you told me we could put
the arborvitae and hemlock branches into plastic bags on the cool
garage floor and they'd be good for the holidays. We did it but
didn't really believe you until last week when we took them out and
shared the greens with friends. They looked like they had been cut
the day before! Thanks! - D.C. -