Hallelujah! Today the sun shone, and the thermometer hovered at a balmy 55 degrees. CAS and I were supposed to hit the Flower and Patio Show, but a computer crash trashed several hours of her work AND our plans. We're going on Friday instead.
So I took advantage of the weather to cut back the buddleia, caryopteris, and the Annabelle hydrangeas. The Endless Summer hydrangeas I left alone, as they flower on both old and new wood. I was excited to see buds on them! And on the magnolia, and the lilacs, and even the damn honeysuckle I have to whack back every year. Yay spring!
Anyone, I chopped the Anabelles back to the ground, and I shaped up the honeysuckle into an arch. I find that the earlier I prune it, the less I have to chop up. I tried to cut the caryopteris back to just above the last viable bud, but the bottom is getting so gnarly that I mostly just whacked at it. Some of the branches have rooted themselves, so I cut those off the bush to see how they do. The buddleia I cut back to about six inches.
I turned the compost too; well, some of it, anyway. I have a Biostack composter that I love; that one was time consuming to turn, but not all that hard. Even after I bought the Biostack, I kept my old compost heap. I made it from scavenged pallets, and it's utterly homely, but it's in a corner and masked by a magnolia. Plus it's perfect for the big batches of waste generated by garden clean-up binges. The heap is not covered. As a result, it was frozen solid. On the upside, it made a nice study base on which to stand and toss chopped up branches into my mini-brush pile on the opposite side of the fence.
The mini-brush pile lies in the U made by my house, my backyard/frontyard fence, and the neighbor's short length of fence. It is largely a result of laziness; I hate chopping up all those branches by hand so I can fit them in the garbage. Plus I loathe the thought of sending that stuff to a landfill. So I do a sort of semi-chopping, then chuck them over the fence. Eventually I'll have to figure out what to do with them, but in the meantime, they're out of sight and likely providing a nice place for Al the possum to stay when he's not hanging out in the cat house.