This Week's Podcast: Fine Tuning Pruning
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After getting his sculpture degree in London, Jake Hobson spent a year working in a Japanese nursery outside Osaka. He moved back to England and began to practice and teach pruning to beginning and experienced gardeners. Now, he presents both eastern and western styles with hundreds of examples in a new book, The Art of Creative Pruning: Inventive Ideas for Training and Shaping Trees and Shrubs.
The book includes diagrams and instructions for readers to follow to help them practice some sophisticated or even whimsical effects. How does one carve a spiral, a pyramid or a sphere, mushrooms or cubes from a shrub and even trees? Hobson tells us, and also describes topiary and espalier styles. Perhaps the most enlightening parts of the book deal with demystifying Japanese methods for creating forms such as cloud pruning.
For hedges, Hobson shows examples with deciduous hornbeam, beech and hawthorn along with more conventional evergreens. His more severe examples may not be for everyone. But Hobson is not just butchering plants without regard to their health and long life. Bad practices are highlighted, and good alternate methods promoted.
You may or may not care to go to work on your plants, or buy new ones to begin a process that could take decades, but having this knowledge will help you prune just about anything. Knowledge is power, and this is a powerful and beautiful manual.
Learn more at www.jakehobson.com; imported tools, www.niwaki.com. (Illustrations: top, Jake and son Digby by Keiko Hobson; center, step-by-step for the fukinaoshi process by Marjorie C. Leggitt; below, pruned hedges at the garden of landscape architect Jacques Wirtz in Schoten, Belgium.)