What's Coming Up 200: Cut hard, proof of life, prune conifers, running weeds

enlarge this image

This week we present the absolute best Clematis pruning illustrations ever, and some pretty darned good pictures of what to do about those blue Hydrangeas, too. 

May 4, 2013

New in What's Up

Green Thumbs up, Green Thumbs down:

     • To cold hardy volunteers: What to do at spring start-up.

     • To overlooking proof of life: How to tell that a plant's alive and lively.

Mentors send A spring chorus of wise words for immediate application:

     • Cut weak wood hard: We cut roses and blue Hydrangea to explain this lesson.

     • Clippers are better than saw: Why an early clipper cut beats a bigger saw later.

     • Hard cuts are less work: When pruning harder means less cutting overall.

     • Yews' slow comeback is worth a look: A reality show for overweight shrubs.

     • Bad luck to say "Thanks" for a plant: Time for thinking rather than thanking.

     • Weeding out running perennials: Strategies to win that war.

     • Useful Proof of gardening at a conifer clip: A good idea to delay bagging your clippings.

     • Use all water given to you: Rain garden primer and plants list.

Click a title to read these 11 new articles illustrated with 99 new images .



Currently, we're digging into proof of life as well as proof of gardening: Which plants should we give up to the compost, for which wait longer? How can we prove we've been working and who needs to know?

These are neat tricks in a late spring. When winter decided to hang around, it wrote 'can't do' all over our to-do list. Once the weather broke, the backlog was so nerve-wracking that we took to chanting our own step-by-steps as we worked, for focus and to maintain calm.

Yet that's what spring is all about. If it wasn't this kind of craziness it would be another. As we start this 31st year as professional gardeners, we still feel the wonder and we're determined to keep on growing.

That's been easy to do lately, given youngsters who share their eyes with us. (The reporters in our new Kids View Department; and our granddaughter, now 14 months old.) Revelations pop from every bud that opens and rise from every hole we dig. If you ever lose your spark, invite a child to your garden.

We are grateful for the help and support you gave us this winter. We inadvertently made a cartload of extra work for ourselves by setting you-all a deadline. However, now we have a manageable mailing list and have started getting back to the fun stuff -- talking gardens on the Forum and posting the most timely topics on the website and newsletter.

Who are Janet & Steven?

Entertaining answers in About Us

Please support this effort to help the gardening community grow!

Sponsor us, order our books, photos and other good stuff at our Market

Where to see us.

Details in About Us: Where we're appearing:

May 18 & 19 in Howell, Michigan, Being Smart About "New"

May 19 at the Detroit Zoo for hands-on designing and planting

May 30 in Holland, Michigan, Gardening Smarter

June 1 in Alpena, Michigan,Designing the Small Flower Garden

June 2 at the Detroit Zoo for hands-on deadheading, pest identification and planting

June 3 in Clarkston, Michigan, Favorite Plants

June 8 at Chicago Botanic Garden, Designing and Tending a Mixed Border, and Gardening on Difficult Sites

New in the library called Ensemble Weekly Editions

We shift current articles into this season-based library throughout the year, but we also keep adding to this department from our archives. Thanks to your Sponsorships, we've made many posts there in the past two months. We'll include a complete list as soon as we can catch our breath. Meanwhile, we're featuring those articles per plan, linking them to current news to add depth without repetition. For instance, this issue's Cut weak wood hard is bolstered by our best-ever Clematis pruning pictures, now on site in Growing Concerns 511.

Some additions to this library are made by specific request -- a Sponsor asks us to cover that topic. Others come per our schedule, or we accelerate that schedule when a Sponsor says, "You choose for me." Each requested and specially chosen article bears its Sponsor's name, often with that reader's message or chosen photo.

There are now more than 950 articles in the library. To use them:

  • Choose a season and scan key word titles.
  • Or use Search on our site with your own keywords. It's better than any index.

For instance, for more about that queen of vines, Clematis, go to GardenAtoZ.com, type its name into the Search field and in just over one second you'll have links to 43 more Clematis articles.

We post as much or more news as archived material each week, plus we have literally thousands of photos to add to articles from our text-only pre-digital days. Despite all that, we have not yet reached the 50% mark in posting from our archives. So join us any day to click from the Home page on Check the newest... Click here to read it. We hope we can all keep growing right into a bountiful year!

Please Sponsor us. It's easy to do. Just email us from our Sponsor page.