When it comes to hedges, which do you prefer – shaped or wild? Boxy or freeform?

Using Pyracantha as an example, let’s look at the different approaches to pruning or not pruning.

Here are heavily pruned “tidy” Pyracanthas in Albuquerque’s North Valley:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Plant Lady Chronicles

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Plant Lady Chronicles

I know that the homeowner prefers the neatness of the straight-edged pruning. He hires someone to come in every so often with one of those electric hedge trimmers and go to town on the plants. The heavy pruning reduces the number of berries, but their shady location also contributes to fewer berries. The homeowner probably has good reasons (although I haven’t asked) for wanting to keep the Pyracantha pruned so tightly. They’re laden with thorns, and there are kids around, so he may be concerned with safety. And also space may be an issue – there’s not much room for the plants to grow wild in the driveway.

Pruning the Pyracantha that heavily is many people’s choice – he’s not alone. There are examples of box-shaped hedges all over the city.

But he may not realize the plant’s potential, either.

Here’s an example from another homeowner who chose the “wild” path, letting the Pyracantha grow with abandon (also in the North Valley):

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Plant Lady Chronicles

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Plant Lady Chronicles

Breathtaking, isn’t it? This row of Pyracantha offers a gorgeous natural fence, shielding the house from outside eyes and probably intruders as well (someone would have to be pretty stupid to try and climb a thorny fence like that!).

There’s also a lot more space to allow the plants to grow on this property than the first example.

How a plant is pruned is a personal choice. It should be an informed one, however. No one should prune a hedge into a box shape just because everyone else is doing it. Sometimes, the plants should be allowed to grow the way they want to grow. And sometimes a little shaping or training is necessary.

My regular readers know that I much prefer the latter example. I’m not a fan of heavy pruning because I think box-shaped hedges look ridiculous and decidedly unnatural. And also because they’re examples of lazy pruning – it’s quick and easy to take shears and lop off branches indiscriminately. It’s much more nuanced and time-consuming to give a plant an “editing” that encourages new growth without destroying the plant’s natural shape.

I’m curious, which do you prefer?


Good To Grow is an Albuquerque-based interior and exterior landscaping service. We use plants and flowers to decorate offices, homes and patios around the city. We also offer memorial garden services, meaning that when a loved one passes, we can plant a customized garden in his or her honor. If the person who passed was an avid cook, we can plant an herb garden to honor that person’s memory. If a Veteran dies, we can plant a red, white, and blue perennial flower garden. If you lost a beloved pet, we can plant a garden around the burial site.

If you’d like to know more about the landscaping or memorial garden services offered, please send an email to lizatheplantlady at gmail dot com. Thank you for your consideration.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Gaillardia flowers

Happy Ginger plants:

Good To Grow, Liza's plants, Liza's photos

Happy Schlumbergera plants:

Good To Grow, Liza's plants, Liza's photos

Happy Haworthia plants:

Good To Grow, Liza's plants, Liza's photos

Happy Plants, Angry Sky:

Good To Grow, Liza's plants, Liza's photos

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Quirky Albuquerque

Hello peaches, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

Our beloved Experts are on a much-deserved break – only for a few more days! Let’s admire their adorableness:


And then move on to the plant puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if this plant was real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Let’s see how you answered:

Joseph Brenner of Texas wrote, “The wrinkles between the leaf-veins lead me to believe this is Monstera Non- Deliciosa. The fraudulent cousin to my Split-leaf Philodendron.(B>{D}”

mr_subjunctive from the Plants Are the Strangest People site wrote, “Fake? I’m really on the edge about this one.”

Martha from the Plowing Through Life site wrote, “Well, this one seems a little tougher. But I’m going to guess fake because it looks a little plastic(y).”

Ivynettle from the Letters and Leaves site wrote, “Wow, that’s a tricky one. I’m going to say fake as well, because as Martha says, it looks plastic-y.”

That’s four votes fake, zero votes real.

What’s the correct answer?

Let’s take a wider view:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

It’s REAL!

You know what that means, right? I STUMPED YOU AGAIN!

*Does a victory dance.*

*Pats self on the back.*

*Is astonished!*

Woohoo! Yay for me. I was so surprised, because I wasn’t intending to stump you this week. I guess I just didn’t realize how difficult it would be for you. It is a good-looking plant, so I can see why you would be fooled. Very few flaws on the leaves. Usually real plants have some flaws, which endear them to me. But not this one. It’s a very happy plant.

So, even though I won, you still get prizes! Because I appreciate that you played at all! To show you my gratitude, I’d like you each to have the following prizes: Waning September days, one certificate of appreciation, four filet medallions, 12 fabric softener sheets, one basketball court, three front teeth, five free days, one sneak peek, 14 1/2 bonus points, a standing ovation, two curtain rods, one field of sunflowers, your own personal sunset, four consecutive green lights, express service, Copper Avenue, a new license plate, 32 blessings, one symphony orchestra, that fall feeling, one box of macaroni, manantiales cristalinas, a monument built in your honor, John Cougar Mellencamp, six kudos, a bowl of succulents, three small koala bears, two compliments on your hair, a taco plate, one ladder, a new set of bath towels, one hockey puck and the title of “Good Enough” for the weekend.

Congratulations! And thanks so much for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Let’s try an easier/fun one this time. I may actually have already used this puzzler (not the same photo, but the same flowers), but it would’ve been a couple of years ago, so I feel ok about doing it again. Are these flowers real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) next Thursday, October 2nd to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s all-new Panel of Experts. The prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you back here.

Cosmos flower photos never get old! (Well, not for me, anyway.)

Good To Grow, Liza'a photos, Cosmos Flowers

So pretty! Especially with the blue Morning Glories in the mix.

If you haven’t ventured a guess in the current plant puzzler, you still have time to do so. Here’s the puzzler, in which I asked if this plant was real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

It’s a tricky one this week! If anyone who has already guessed has second thoughts, you’re welcome to change your vote – I don’t mind!

The deadline is tonight at midnight MST (that’s 2am EST). Leave your best guess in the comments section. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) tomorrow. Imaginary prizes will abound for all who play, whether your guess is correct or not. It’s a win-win for everyone!

The Experts will return next Friday, along with more puzzler action. Yay! The Experts are coming back! They’re looking forward to it, and so am I!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Plant Lady Chronicles

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, pretty blooms

I saw a stray hummingbird yesterday (my regular birds left weeks ago), so I was glad she was able to find the Zauschneria blooms to nourish her along her journey. Hopefully she catches up to her friends soon!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, pretty blooms


Yup, that looks about right for September:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Liza's plants

Overgrown and unattended to, haha! I’m still getting lots of tomatoes and peppers, but the strawberries have largely stopped producing. I haven’t deadheaded any of the flowers in ages, or pruned much of anything. Nor did I stop the volunteer sunflower who decided to take over the driveway. You could call me a lazy gardener this time of year, and you’d pretty much be accurate!

In other plant news, Elise, a Euphorbia milii ‘Crown of Thorns’ plant, is blooming again:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Liza's plants

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Liza's plants

So cute!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 598 other followers


Follow LizaWheeler7 on Twitter

About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in the beautiful Land of Enchantment, Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have a plant care business here in town called Good To Grow. I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 598 other followers