Knowing when and where to prune

Even though this morning’s sun has been replaced by dull overcast sky, I couldn’t fight the need to be out in the garden today. Perhaps it’s my aforementioned cabin fever or the emotion that is running through the online garden community the past 48 hours, but it just didn’t seem right to be out of the garden today.

So I grabbed by bypass loppers and hand pruners and decided to do a little thinning in the landscape. Pruning has always been matter of unskilled labor for me, as I’m not great about paying attention to the rules of timing and amount of pruning. If a branch is bothering my sense of line and rhythm in the garden, or if it’s become an annoyance in the physical flow of the landscape, I tend to cut it off.

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Recycling our boxes

A few weeks ago, I made a trip to the city recycling center. We’ve never been pleased with the quality of our trash hauler’s recycling efforts, so we collect our cans, bottles, cardboard and newspapers in the garage. When we can’t stack one more item on the growing pile of consumption, I’ll load up the truck and head up to the north side of town. It is usually the cardboard boxes that are the earliest to teeter in a threatening pose of imminent revolt.

An urban recycling center in its utilitarian starkness may not be the most suitable place to wax philosophical. But as I tossed box after box through the open door of the large roll-off container marked CARBOARD ONLY, I began to think about the purpose and significance of boxes in our lives. Each and every box that I was recycling was a container of some sort, meant to protect a product from the time it is produced, through the transit, storage and marketing process. Once it has arrived in our homes, the box has served its purpose and can be recycled. While there are likely a thousand ways we could be more environmentally-friendly with our product packaging, the box has proudly earned its place next to the wheel and sliced bread in the annals of human invention.

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