Pruning can be a very therapeutic exercise - for the gardener as well as the plant.

I am a non-violent person. It is difficult for me to imagine a situation where I would resort to violence, but I admit there are things happening in this world that at times just make me want to bash something or someone - figuratively, if not literally. Enter my pruning shears.

They are Felco #12s and they fit my hand perfectly. They make pruning an almost sensual experience, but at the same time they allow me to vent all my hostility and anger in perfect comfort. As I make my cuts, I think about all the people on the world stage who have irritated or appalled me recently.

Whack! Take that, Rush Limbaugh. Snip! That's for you, Pat Robertson. I believe you need to be pruned WAY back, Sarah Palin. You, too, Glenn Beck. And as for you, national media, I'm taking you back to the trunk! Maybe the new growth will be more robust and productive.

Today, I worked on the grapevines and the apple tree. Both of them presented a tangled mess of criss-crossing growth from last year. I whacked away at the grapevines until there was nothing left but the trunks and a few leaders. For the apple tree, I had to bring in the saws to remove bigger limbs and some that I couldn't reach with my hand pruners. As my pile of prunings got bigger, I could feel my irritation with the world ebbing away.

I've a few more shrubs and trees that will require some judicious cutting and, in less than a month, it will be time to do the roses. Truthfully, there is so much in the world that makes me mad, it is very fortunate that I have many things that need pruning.


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