With spring on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about the garden again.
When we first landscaped our garden, we placed a Blue Danube Juniper by our pond that was pre-shaped into pom poms.
It’s amazing to look back on these early pictures to see how small it once was!
Each season, it continues to grow, so to maintain the shape we have to cut it back each spring.
To save yourself a lot of time in cleanup, place a tarp or two under the entire area you’re working around to gather the clippings.
My tool of choice is Corona hedge shears. Make sure your hand shears are sharp before you begin!
Some people don’t move on from the first pom pom until the entire thing is fully shaped. I however, start by cutting back all the longer growth to get back the rough shape of each one first. Then I go back in to cut more aggressively. For the top, I hold the shears upright. Keep the tips of the shears slightly upright so you can’t accidentally gough into the plant.
I continue to trim around all sides.
When you find that the angle is difficult to cut, try flipping around the shears – that should make things easier to reach. For instance, Along the sides of the plant when I’m cutting towards me, I flip my shears around so they’re upside down – as shown below.
Try not to undercut the lower branches back too much; they need to be exposed to the sun! If you have a situation where the foliage gets less sunlight (like up against a building), also leave the foliage longer.
Here’s how it looks after the first pass.
On the second pass, I find that turning the shears ‘upside down’ helps maintain a circular arc.
Have a look at this quick one minute video from Perth Australia that demonstrates the two ways to hold the shears. It’s the one that actually gave me the courage to try cutting my own topiary for the first time!
It goes faster if you can tag-team the task. Sometimes when I’ve completed the first pass, hubs will follow behind with smaller shears to finesse and tighten up the shape.
It’s always helpful to step back to get a perspective on what still needs to be cut.
Here’s how the juniper looks after being cut back more aggressively.
Each pom pom should look pleasantly circular from all angles.
At the end, ruffle through the foliage to shake off any clippings that didn’t make it to the tarp. When you’re done that, just drag the tarp away.
It’s so much easier to bag the cuttings when they’re gathered up all in one place!
There’s nothing more satisfying that standing back and taking in the beautiful shape.
I love this sneak peek of more beautiful things to come later in the season!
Don’t be afraid to be aggressive with cutting back the foliage or it will quickly growth and fill in during the summer:
By the way, it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of humour in the garden:
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If you enjoy gardening, or have plans to landscape this summer, check out some of our other garden features: