The result from these efforts, of course, is an informal, devil-may-care feeling for much of my garden, but occasionally even the best-behaved child needs a haircut lest the grandmother (or in the case of shrubs, Mrs. ProfessorRoush), think we are bad parents.
Take the 'New Hampshire Gold' forsythia pictured above both pre- and post-bloom. It had a very nice, prolific bloom this spring, but, as forsythia are prone to, once the flowers are gone, I've got an airy, messy green blob squatting on my landscape. This year, one of my planned spring garden chores was to prune the forsythia, and along the way remove the many suckers threatening to spread the bush on into Nebraska.
So, I'll ask you to make the call. Pre-pruning is on the right, post-pruning from the same angle on the left below. Did I do a good thing this spring, or did I capitulate to group-think and ruin the natural lines of the plant? Should I have gone further and made a box turtle or an elephant out of the unshaped mass? Mrs. ProfessorRoush has already weighed in and is definitely on the "haircut" side, but then, she always wants my garden to be neater than I'm prone to keep it.
Most important to ProfessorRoush, of course, will be the effect my pruning has for the next bloom of this shrub. I'm hoping that the experts are right and the shrub fills in and has more bloom and is more compact. Time, as always in a garden, will tell.