|1,000 denier textured nylon chaps: best item of clothing I own|
First I chopped back the smokebush at the top of the driveway. But once I did that, I could see it needs more. If I want branching low and full, with lots of vertical upright shoots, I need to get the saw out and cut it where I've marked on the picture.
The way it is now, all the fullness will start up where the cluster of branch stubs are. I can fix this.
Then I got out the stepladder and starting chopping at the climbing hydrangea over the garage door. I trimmed it to follow a line across the pergola, and tried to get rid of the shoots going upward and back toward the window.
It really was a hatchet job, but I got it chopped back and I tied up what I could to encourage rightward growth. The vine is very brittle, so manipulating the long stems is tricky. It has beautiful peeling bark that I like seeing exposed close up as we come and go from the garage.
Climbing hydrangea roots easily -- I should stick some of these newly budded cuttings in some soil and start new vines.
I also spent time cutting back things that were still standing in the garden, like the panicum grasses and perennial stalks and I even chopped at some of the multiflora rose in the meadow. My chaps kept my knees dry and my pants clean while I knelt in the mud getting things done.
I actually saw the head gardener at Chanticleer wearing these exact same garden chaps once, so I feel pretty professional wearing mine now.