3.10.2011

When Shrubs Attack

© shoutingforha

The post today is going to be a short one.  Why, you might ask?  My hands hurt and I'm a wimp, plain and simple.  Allow me to explain...

With spring quickly approaching, I have spent the past two days outside doing one of my least favorite things.  You guessed it, yard work.  I have hacked, pruned, raked, weeded, seeded and poisoned.  Next up... mulching.  The fun never ends.

Along the front of our house, there are three rows of shrubs, Boxwood, Golden Elf Spirea and Red Leaf Barberry.  The Spirea and Barberry, which lose their leaves in the winter, provide a lovely contrast against the deep green of the Boxwood.  Once the foliage has returned I will have to take some pictures.

When the hubby and I originally planted the shrubs, we selected dwarf varieties of the Spirea and Barberry.  Our thought was that the dwarf shrubs would require minimal pruning.  Boy were we wrong.  The plants have grown to four or five times the size that we expected.  As a result, they require constant pruning to keep them under control.

Have I mentioned that I hate yard work?

To make matters worse, the Barberry bushes are covered in millions of tiny thorns or barbs, thus the name.  As I was pruning, the long, slender barbs pierced through my gardening gloves, wreaking havoc with my hands.  I have tried a variety of gloves over the years and none seem to adequately protect my hands from the sinister shrubs.

It is not an exaggeration when I say that, over the past two days, I have dug almost fifty thorns out of my fingers.  My hands look like I was in a fight with a gang of rabid cats.  My skin looks only marginally better than it did when I had poison ivy covering half my arm.  Looking this good comes at a price.

I know that many of you are thinking, Mrs. Ha, why are you pruning now?  Shouldn't that activity be reserved for the fall or winter?  Technically, you would be correct. That said, the climate here in Tennessee affords me a little leeway.  It seems that the vegetation always comes back, despite the timing or severity of the pruning.  The plants are unstoppable.

Thanks to the forty degree temperatures and steady rain, I'm going to take a day off from all this yard work.  It should give me ample time to dig out a few additional thorns that seem to have worked their way to the surface during the night.  Wish me luck.

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