Back in the dark days of January, the snow sat heavy on lots of shrubs

And none more than Symphoricarpos orbiculatus.

(The Indian Currant  and a relative of The Snowberry)

The stems were broken and the whole vast clump was flattened from over 2 metres high to under 1 metre.

There was an upside to this. (There has to be in life doesn’t there? Otherwise it would all be unbearable!)

The upside was that I glimpsed the base of the Kiftsgate Rose. It had always lurked in the tangled mass like a prehistoric monster. And now there it was:


I tidied right across the Symphoricarpos, cutting it to ground level. It is a suckering shrub and so can sure take that – in fact nothing makes that sort of thing respond better.

I also tidied up the rose and resolved that this knock kneed whirling dirvish should not be covered up again.

So periodically I have kept the Symphoricarpos in front of it loosely trimmed.

I use conventional manual hedge trimmers. It takes a matter of minutes and in this light woodland I do not even bother to pick up the trimmings. With manual hedge trimmers there is no noise to disturb the wild life and no energy burnt (other than my own!).

 I was showing a garden design colleague round the garden a couple of weeks ago.

Of course I said the usual ‘You should have been here last week. The garden looked so much better.’ We discussed all sorts of things like how we were much more prone to clip shrubs since we had trained in garden design. We murmured and cooed together over various plants and came to this:

‘What’s this?’ she said, pointing to the foreground.

I explained and she said ‘I hate Symphoricarpos, but I like this.’

Of course it helps that it is not the conventional Snowberry.

But I like the freshness of its feathery mass in the heavy darkness of the wood, with coarser foliage around.

As you can see it needs a light retrim now.

My arm muscles are getting quite toned with all this clipping, though gently – well short of ‘the full Rambo’!