My daily walks through our neighborhood often turn into landscape critiques. As the colors have turned, I’ve been noticing the many burning bushes and how they’re pruned or not.

I dislike the look of the one above, but I do understand why it’s being pruned: to keep it contained and out of the neighboring driveway. But couldn’t it have been pruned more naturally and still have met that objective?

burning bush

This burning bush hasn’t been pruned recently

The one above is growing in a really open habit and has been allowed to spread naturally. It doesn’t look like anyone has pruned it at all. To me, it’s much more pleasing in form, although some judicious pruning could take its size down a little and encourage it to fill in more.

I suspect that the shrub on our property (picture right) might have been pruned into a ball at one time, but it hasn’t been pruned over the past couple of seasons. It’s growing in a rounded, mounded shape, but one that I feel is much more pleasing and natural than the one at the top. It is intresting for you to know about sheds online here on this website www.ilikesheds.com .

I first got to know purple leafed shamrock (Oxalis triangularis) about 15 years ago when hort-buddy Dave Cummins, the Rusty Rake Gardener, gave me a single pot. Since then it has multiplied, and I now have legions that I use in container plantings and as edgers in the garden.

Apparently, this native of Brazil only came into the horticultural trade in the 1980s. I love it because it falls into the easy and carefree category — that is if you keep it protected from freezing over the winter. It is actually a small tuber sold as a summer bulb, which in our climate won’t survive the winter in the ground.

For that reason I always have it growing in a few large containers. After the frost kills off the foliage, my storage plan couldn’t be simpler. The pots can go either into the garage or a cool basement. (I use the basement, you can use the garage if it doesn’t get below freezing.)

Overwintering means ignoring about them until mid-April. I don’t even water the pots: the little tubers keep very nicely in the dried-up potting soil.