2014 Shovel-Prune Chronicles

rouge21_gw(5)August 1, 2014

GW member eric_oh initiated last year's thread. I don't think I see one for this season.

I am sure all of us do our best to rehome such plants and I feel good that most of the ones listed below are now in the ground being looked after and cared for by someone else.

Here is some of what I remember from this season that I have dug up this year and given away:

- 3 Campanula "Freya" (too short a bloom time and too floppy...in part because of too rich soil maybe)

- 2 very large "Solar Eclipse" heucherella (these two were in too much sun)

- one huge "Endless Summer" hydrangea (not enough reliable blooming)

- 2 small heuchera "Paris" (never thrived for me in their current location and I had nowhere to put them)

- Persicaria "Dimity". Excellent ground cover but I have too much

- Diablo Ninebark shrub (too large)

This post was edited by rouge21 on Fri, Aug 1, 14 at 12:02

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karin_mt(4 MT)

You shovel pruned 'Paris'? Damn. I love those and our local nursery just raised the price on them from $13 to $15. Too bad I don't live across the street from you.

I'm in the midst of my shrubificiation project in the back gardens, so tons of stuff is getting taken out. I'm selling them, giving them away, inviting craigslist people to come over and dig, pondering having a plant sale, and am tossing a few.

Oddly, the emptied out space is looking so much better it makes me realize it's not so much that I need more shrubs, I just needed to clear out some of the overcrowded perennials. But I am getting more shrubs anyway and I'm genuinely excited and invigorated about the direction of things. Yay!

And, btw, the term "shovel prune" is one of the best things I've learned here!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:36AM
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'karin', these 2 "Paris" are sitting in some shade in pots waiting for a good home!

(Btw, I have both "Paris" and "Lipstick" and while both provide very good flowering for much of the summer I am always blown away by the bright red of "Lipstick". It is amazing flowering coral bells that blooms all summer. I can never take a picture that captures this fire engine red colour.)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:56AM
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luckyladyslipper(MA 5b-6a)

I've GOT to have that! It's breathtaking.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:13PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

My ninebarks grew out of control this year as well. Topping out at 7' for coppertina.

They respond very well to pruning though, even mid season pruning.

It helps control them you just have to take some time to prune them appropriately. Coppertina is worth my time because it grows all year so you get that new glowing copper growth above the mature purple foliage.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 2:10PM
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I always found that if I pruned it (too much?) it wouldnt flower the following season.

(I see there is a compact version known as "Tiny Wine")

Here is a link that might be useful: Compact Nine Bark

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 3:17PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

We have Ninebark 'Summer Wine' in the south driveway border. We keep it pruned to the height we want for it to be the backdrop to the 'hot' colors in that bed. It's always flowered in the spring - although it wouldn't bother me a bit if it didn't, since its main purpose there is to be the dark foil for other plants!

re shovel pruning - a few days ago we dug out the 'x durandii' clematis in the small 'teardrop' bed in the front and gave it to a neighbour. It just didn't suit where it was anymore and I didn't have another place for it. We replaced it with a Sedum 'Matrona' that had been in too much shade at the back of the main front bed. We also shovel pruned a 'Dazzleberry' sedum that we had just planted a week or two ago! Right color; wrong shape and habit.... We replaced it with a 'Coco' heuchera and gave the Dazzleberry to the same neighbour who got the x durandii clematis! We trade plants with a few neighbours - lots of gardeners around here.... :-)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 3:57PM
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The dark foliage coupled with the white ball flowers for "Nine Bark" is striking.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 5:39PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I find the flowers OK, but rather wimpy - deep red ones would be better. :-) I planted the 'Midnight Marvel' red hardy hibiscus next to it at the end of last summer. I'm looking forward to seeing how that works out when the hibiscus blooms - soon, I hope... The hibiscus has dark foliage that almost perfectly blends into that of the ninebark, so I'm hoping the effect will be to make it look like it's the ninebark blooming with red flowers.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 6:08PM
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I had to rehome a Malva moschata alba (White Musk Mallow). The deer just would not leave it alone and constantly pruned it back almost completely, but the stubborn plant always made a comeback. Eventually, I felt sorry for it and gave it to a friend who does not battle deer on a daily basis. It's doing great finally getting a chance to live up to its potential.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 8:27PM
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babera(5a (Montana))

I'm giving my hibiscus one more time to shine. . . I really am over it. . . I have to save room for it (its huge. . . 7' tall by 5' wide) but very sparse. It takes forever to show in spring (mid June) grows like a bean stalk then flowers mid August, then its done. . . I need the real estate for better performers. I think I have a home for it tho. . . I hope

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 10:15PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-Doug, you must have rich soil. I planted a 'Freya' at work and at a clients home and both are short and stocky. I agree about not blooming long though!

I got rid of a large 'Gold Coast' Juniper this spring. It was one of those newbie gardener purchases, lol. It was taking up too much space. Haven't replaced it with anything (unless a volunteer squash from the composter counts, lol). Thinking about giving another try to 'Purple Smoke' Baptisia if I can find it.

A couple weeks ago I chopped my KO rose down to the ground. So glad I did- now I can honestly say the area looks better without it. Will dig out rooty-remains when I have time later...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 11:22AM
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I've had a Physocarpus 'Diablo' for close to ten years. For most of that time it was a carefree shrub, handsome for much of the year, controllable by judicious pruning. In the last couple of years I've had areas of stem dieback (the past harsh winter didn't help), so I drastically pruned it back earlier this month. We'll see if it revives well (I have another purple-foliaged Physocarpus of apparently smaller dimensions which I set in a temporary location a few years ago, and which has now gotten too big to readily be transplanted. Of course I lost the tag so I don't know exactly what it is).

I haven't had the opportunity to shovel-prune much of anything yet this year. I have my eyes on a large patch of variegated-foliage iris that has become infiltrated by weeds (especially the loathsome queen-of-the-prairie), and which badly needs extirpation.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 12:17PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I rarely shovel prune anything but this spring I evicted my Korean feather reed grass. It's beautiful but there were too many seedlings coming up so I got nervous.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 11:09AM
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I hate shovel pruning. There must be some redeeming quality, right? Which is why I kept nepeta 'six hills giant' way too long. Finally got rid of it this year. What an awful plant even in my lean soil, never watered garden. Nepeta walker's low is a keeper - six hills giant will not be missed.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:27PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

I was always a huge fan of grasses and would proclaim that every garden needed ornamental grasses. Fast forward ten years and those suckers were seeding everywhere and have been out of control. Since we had the old picket fence replaced, it gave us the opportunity to change those beds and ALL grasses are out! What a task (for DH with pick axe) to remove them! And all the really, really tall perennials are out of that area including joe pye weed, a tall coreopsis and a rudbeckia that was all over and ten feet tall!

Also removed 2 gold privets that would look a bit diseased each year.
But in one spot I replaced with 'Bobo' so I'm really happy about that.
I have yet to take out a spirea on the slope and I'm possibly going to remove the flowering almond too. It has gotten quite big and a bit out of control. It might get a stay of execution until next year since I can be quite lazy and that is one shrub I'm not looking forward to fighting with for removal.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:39PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

I hear you about the grasses! I went through a similar binge and purge here. I still use blue oat grass quite a lot, and other non-seeding, non-spreading grasses.

My last Six Hills Giant is on the shovel prune list too. Sometimes it's easier to shovel prune than to cut it back one... more... time.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:55PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I have removed many of my grasses as well this spring. Have kept a couple of well behaved non seeding ones. Removed filipendula 'Venusta' as it didn't
ever bloom well. Still popping up here and though.

Hibiscus 'Midnight Marvel' has gotten big and sprawly this second year. Better bloom spectaularily or it goes next year. Other hibiscus I have are much more compact.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 12:57AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

mnwsgal - thanks for the warning re Midnight Marvel....! I grew that in a pot last summer and planted it in the south driveway border, beside the Summer Wine ninebark, last fall. It's looking good so far this year but I'll keep a close watch on it next year :-)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:48AM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Forgot that I also shovel pruned many of my evergreen shrubs. We had a terrible winter when it came to evergreens. So many around town are dead. Between the harsh winter and deer, I've just decided to tell myself that winter interest is overrated. Sad to see them go, but sadder to look forward to them in the winter only to have them buried under snow, eaten by deer, or dead come spring.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:17PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Oh no, not the hallowed evergreen shrubs, bummer!

This evening I dispatched with 2 Johnson's Blue geraniums that look floppy, straggly and all-around lame by August. Buh-bye! Also pulled out yet another overcrowded daylily clump and the millionth blue saliva that established itself without my premission. Crazy how much I am pulling out and I'm probably not even halfway done. Phew!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 12:45AM
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