The most important benefit of pruning is mental. As soon as I step out into my garden I'm in ‘the ZONE’. I feel almost like a surgeon or a sculptor, taking care of my patient (the plants) in my own clinic (the garden). Plants are not just another thing to take care of, every plant has its day, its season, and each one needs careful and patient attention. Focusing your thoughts and energy on something outside of yourself (something that doesn’t talk back or demand anything) allows your mind and thoughts to slow down. Once your mind slows, your breathing deepens and you get more oxygen into your lungs – this enables you to slow down. Now, in a state of calm and focus you can see what your plant needs and what it’s missing. Spending time pruning your garden can easily be considered meditation.
Tip - If you want your garden to bloom don't treat it like another household chore to be completed. This isn’t like washing dishes or putting out the garbage. A garden has a soul and plants have a spirit, we must respect that.
The second benefit you get from pruning is happiness. For me,
it begins as soon as I step out into the garden. Your senses awaken, your mind
clears and you are free to spend quality time with yourself or your family. After
you start pruning, you’ll notice time slow down, and as it slows the third
benefit of pruning slowly becomes clear. But here’s the thing, you only
get to enjoy the third benefit of pruning after you have been doing it for a
while – it’s almost like your plants want to see you’re committed before
they’ll ‘show you the love’. So, you need to get out to your garden, you need
to breath, you need to prune and then you need to wait…. and wait a little
more…. and then, one fine day you will notice the magic begin to happen. Your
garden will thank you for your care, attention and time, and it will begin to
bloom and grow.
Remember, your garden is a version of your life. If attention, patience and positive thinking become part of your routine in life as in your garden, you WILL have the best results. Now, I'm not talking about watering the plants, putting fertilizer or adding soil. I’m only talking about pruning by hand. No electric saws, no ladders needed - simply reach out to those low hanging fruits and branches, see them, prune them and watch them grow.
The third benefit of pruning may actually be the most important.
The social benefit - the opportunity it creates for you to spend time with your kids, grandkids,
partner or dog (they always come out to the garden). Doing something relaxing
and peaceful together - well, it’s a joy. I have two girls and getting them away
from the smartphone and taking an interest in something else, those of you with
teenagers around will know, it’s no small feat. I love taking care of the
garden with my girls (in the pic above). You can’t get better quality time. We have
a chance to talk and laugh and watch the growth that results from our work – I
think that must be the best benefit of pruning!
By the way, while on the subject of kids and social, take a look at this program, which exposes your kids to the wonderful world of farming and gardening.
The fourth benefit of pruning is getting to see the new bloom. I mean really, this is what it’s all about watching the results of your handi-work. And be sure to take a minute to look around, take it in and enjoy it. See the renewal, the refreshing islands of color and the green spots that appear throughout your garden – they all symbolize growth, and renewal. It’s like your plants' way of saying 'thank you' for all your extra attention.
Now, just know that even though your garden blooms, you may not have gotten the results you hoped for. It’s a little like raising children…. we water them, and feed them and teach them – but at the end of the day they become their own people. Plants too, won’t always 'listen’ to your heart's wishes, even if you care for them like a professional gardener. Remember, there are over a thousand possible reasons why you didn’t get the exact result you were expecting. It’s life. Or rather, it’s nature J In any case, please keep trying, keep pruning (there are 3 other great reasons to do it) and if you have any questions at all, or just need a little encouragement – drop me a line – I’ll be in the Pruning Center waiting to hear from you.
Providing general guidelines on 'how to prune' any kind of plant is important, but there are plants, and there is YOUR plant. So despite there being loads of information on this site, I also provide specific and personalized support. If something wasn't clear, or you're not sure of your plant's name, simply send me a picture with your question. Use the form below and I'll get back to you. In the mean time, see what others are asking.