I like to be in control, at least as far as my garden goes. And I am a perfectionist. This is not to be confused with being perfect.
We have two dwarf apple trees. One is a red delicious and another is a golden delicious. These are not the best apple trees for our hot climate. Their flavor is mediocre, and they tend to be sickly and need more attention than I want to give. I have threatened to cut them down. However, last year they produced bushels of healthy, large fruit from which we made lots of yummy pies. So for now, they live.
Today I pruned them, cutting their tips back to about nine feet and cleaning up the interior to let in more sunlight. Lou offered to do this for me, but I initially delegated him to clean-up crew. I use some good Felco loppers, and with them I can almost reach as high as I need to cut. Almost.
Lou watched as I stretched and maneuvered between the branches.
"I could do that," he said. "I'm taller than you are."
This made sense. I would supervise, and he would make the cuts.
"OK. Reach up there. No, not that one! Up a little. You need to cut above an outward facing bud. There. No, don't cut the bud! Above it! A clean cut! Don't rip it! "
By the time he had made one cut, I was clinching my teeth. "You better let me do it," I said.
"Yeah, I can see this is like plastic surgery. I'll get the ladder."
After that, we worked smoothly, with Lou picking up and hauling off the fallen branches and moving the ladder around the tree for me as I made the cuts. The trees look great now. Tomorrow I will spray them with dormant oil to protect against insects and diseases.
I wonder if there are any co-chief gardens out there, with two people equally and happily planning, planting, and maintaining their plot. I think it would be hard if Lou said too me, "No, I think this plant would be better," or if he said, "I think we should design it this way."
Fortunately, he is happy to be the garden helper, and I do ask his input and advice. Our team works well that way.
Just don't let me go near a car engine; I wouldn't want to do that anyway!
Other things I did in my garden today:
1. Fertilized emerging bulb shoots with a natural bulb-booster.
2. Embedded some flat stones and concrete blocks on a slope to make a secondary access to the woodland garden easier. Someday I may pay someone to build real steps. For now these work fine.
3. Transplanted an osmanthus fragrans about eighteen inches over to the right. Its position just looked a little off. I said I was a perfectionist.
4. Found flowers on my hellebores!
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