By Andrea Pavee
Pruning is a staple in gardening. Every gardener, fledging or otherwise, has to get down and dirty with the job of snip-snipping.
Plants flourish when pruned and watching new shoots grow goes a long way in bolstering a beginner’s confidence. As a fledging gardener, I found that watching my garden grow helped bolster my confidence in my newfound hobby.
Pruning is always my first order of business when I start gardening. As soon as I don my gardening gloves, and step into my shoes, I grab my garden caddy, and shears in hand, set off to prune away.
All plants need pruning, sooner or later. Pruning is to plants, what haircuts are for us. It removes dead, or dying leaves, whilst shaving off the odd bits and bobs, making garden greens and blooms look their best, or at least well maintained, at its worst.
Pruning can also shear plants into cute, and quirky shapes, think balls, squares or rectangles. It can also trim unruly hedges, keeping them neat and orderly.
Lastly, pruning helps your plants stay healthy. Once rid of dead or dying branches and leaves, roots and shoots can wholesomely benefit from the nutrients in the soil, thus giving them the best chance to bloom, and grow.
If you are an active gardener, pruning can be done as and when you notice yellowing or dead leaves. However, if you are pressed for time, I would recommend at least a monthly pruning to prevent an overgrown, and unkempt garden.
If you live in a house, your garden is the first impression neighbours, and visitors will have of you. Plus, living in tropical Malaysia or Singapore, a neat garden goes a long way in keeping the mozzies at bay.
The other day, I was wrist deep pruning my Maiden’s Jealousy a.k.a. the Galphinia Vine, the Golden Rod, or Australian Gold Vine – take your pick.
Pleased as Punch at the progress I made, I grabbed my trusty caddy, and strode off to pick some ripening papayas on a nearby tree, which I grew on a lark during our Movement Control Order.
On the way back, I happened to pass my plant over the other side, and was horrified to find that I did not do as good a job as I thought.
I set to work quickly, and in a short space of time removed all the dead and dying leaves that I missed the first time around.
A lesson learnt: Effective pruning has to be tackled at a 360 degree angle.
Now, if I cannot go around a pot, I swivel it to get to the hard to reach places over the other side!
In a case of gardening imitating life, or life imitating gardening, a little musing made me realise that when facing issues, or challenges in life, problems are always better solved when we take things in from different perspectives. To do that, we need to depend on others to help us see things differently.
While not always easy, getting help and advice from confidantes, be they family members or friends, can help us make better decisions. Their input can go some way in enabling us to have a 3-dimensional view.
Another of life’s lessons taught, and this time, through the simple act of pruning my Maiden. Who would have known?
P.S. The Maiden’s Jealousy is an easy plant to grow. She loves the sun and thrives in well drained soil. She is happy in a pot although with her bendy branches, it is best that you slot in a wooden stick and secure her branches upright with twine.
If you would like to ring fence her around your garden, you have the option of either grounding her at your fence, or keeping her in her pot. Just make sure you wrap the new shoots around the chain links of the fence so she can creep upwards as she grows
A General Rule of Thumb
Grounded plants, in the right soil can grow explosively since their roots have free reign to grow. Potted plants, on the other hand, are constricted by the size of the pot they are rooted in. The more extensive the root, the bigger the plant!
With that in mind, no matter the size of your garden, you can pepper your home with any amount of plants, just by playing with the size of your pots.