We inherited these ratty old shrubs in front of our house when I bought my house a decade ago. They had been trimmed in all sorts of bad ways and needed to rebound. In the first year, I added new earth around their bases, watered them carefully, trimmed off the dead branches, and hoped for the best. They shot up healthy, strong, and over fifteen feet tall. I had some serious trimming to do that Fall. I took a chance and trimmed them back to the biggest joints. It worked. The next Spring, new shoots were already bursting out. After 10 years, the plants seem to have decided on their own forms. They kill off the branches they don’t want and I only trim those. The joints are now serenely beautiful and strong. The back has a slight green tint and by the Fall rains, it usually has a green moss film covering one side. These beautiful shrubs grow the loveliest white and red flowers in the Spring, and bright red berries in the Summer, that draw in tons of happy, chirping birds to entertain us.
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