Monday, February 4

Pruning Standard Lilly Pilly...

So the hot weather has past and left us with some scorched plants...It's time to clean up and prune any burnt new growth off your lilly pillys ( or any plants in the garden that copped it).
It is important to start with a good pair of garden shears. I have a quality pair of Wiltshires from Serenity Nursery. Keep them sharp with a sharpening file and clean them after each use with bleach or disinfectant, this will help prevent spread of disease.

This is my lilly pilly standard. It barely resembles a topiary as woody growth towers towards the sky and it has lost it's shape due to a little neglet. Lilly pillys are extremely vigorous growers and if planted in the ground can reach  up to 10m tall, so it is important to prune them regularly...guilty!
I always like to start by pruning some of the woodier branches with the hand secateurs. It is easier to get a cleaner more controlled cut with them. These branches can be cut in towards to middle of the topiary allot harder than the finer new growth, to prolong the time in between pruning and prevent the shrub getting too tall and woody in general.
It is always easiest to prune the finer new growth with the shears. I round the top first and then continue around the bottom. Here I have prune under the right side quite significantly to show how visually important it is to the form of the entire topiary. Prune right up to the main trunk to help create the sphear form.
Work around the topiary taking little bits off at a time. Stand back from time to time to assess the form from a distance and from all angles. One thing I learnt from my sculpture classes in art school was to leave the project and come back to it with fresh eyes, this may help you see the form better and see what areas need more pruning.
The finished product. I could probably spend another hour or so perfecting the shape..but this is a big enough improvement. Once I'm done pruning I give the shrub a treat...a good drink of liquid sea kelp to de-stress it after all of the hot weather we have had.
Enjoy your garden...

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