Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Hideous Hack Job November 16, 2008

The little family and I took a quick trip up to Bainbridge Island on Tuesday, since nobody had to go to school or work that day. We missed a bunch of ferries in the morning due to general chaos and inability to get out of the house, and needed to get back on the early side, so only ended up with a few hours to spend actually on the island.

Bainbridge is a 35 minute ferry trip (once you’re actually on the ferry – you can spend at least that long, as we did, waiting in line to board, but that can be kind of relaxing if you don’t get too steamed for having arrived just as the previous boat was pulling away from the dock) from Seattle, and many of its inhabitants make the daily round-trip from the island to work in the city. It still contains many wooded areas and one of the area’s most famous botanical gardens, the Bloedel Reserve. I had a feeling we wouldn’t have time to visit BLoedel this trip, and it requires a reservation in any case, so it will have to wait for another time.

Instead we spent most of our time at the island’s tiny but fun Kids’ Discovery Museum, which had an exhibit based on the “Arthur” children’s book series, plus a table full of craft supplies for making hand-tracing turkey pictures. What five year old could resist that?

There aren’t a whole lot of parking strips on Bainbridge, but I was kind of excited to see one as we were leaving the museum.

Pruning hack job IV

Then I got a little closer, and saw what has got to be the absolute worst pruning hack job I have ever witnessed.

Pruning hack job III

Ouch. But wait, there’s more! Take that, red twig dogwood:

Pruning hack job I

And that, royal purple smoke bush!

Pruning hack job II

It was truly painful to see. Not sure if the diner these were in front of requested the horrible pruning work in order to be more visible, you’d think their neon-blue paint job would do the trick. In any case, there should be a law against such plant-deforming atrocities! I wonder if any of them will even survive? I’m not the most expert pruner, but I’ve never done anything that ugly. Oh, the horror, the horror!

On an unrelated note, the Blackbird Bakery is a must-visit stop if you ever end up on Bainbridge. It’s right on the main street, Winslow Way, makes fabulous soups and incredible baked goods, and if you get a seat in the window you can learn a lot about island life. My daughter insisted on getting an elaborately decorated cookie which looked a lot like a certain garden nemesis of mine…

Squirrel cookie

Yes dear, of course it’s fine to bite the head off first!


10 Responses to “Hideous Hack Job”

  1. Jen Says:

    What a beautful cookie and how funny that your daughter chose a squirrell!

    I’m not at all an authority on pruning, but even I know that is some scary stuff.

  2. Curmudgeon Says:

    You know, it seems it’s one extreme or the other when it comes to pruning–horror causing hack jobs or the ivy that ate the house.

  3. While it is true that we require reservations to visit the Bloedel Reserve, had you called before you left home, or from the ferry, or even after getting to Bainbridge Island, in all likelihood you would have been granted the reservation. You missed some nice fall color, examples of excellent horticulture, and the chance to see a variety of birds, including swans, usually eagles, ducks, etc. We also have lots of raccoons, squirrels, and other creatures.

    The reservation process helps us to assure that during your visit, the place will be as tranquil, serene, and beautiful as the founders envisioned.

    I hope you’ll try to visit another day.

    R A Brown
    Executive Director
    Bloedel Reserve

  4. Shibaguyz Says:

    As long as we have lived here in Seattle, neither one of us knew about the Bloedel Reserve… thanks for the tip!

    On a squirrelly note, Jason was out walking the Shibaboyz today and a startled squirrel ran RIGHT between him and Atlas. Having NO self control when it comes to his prey drive, Atlas nearly caught the little bugger as it ran right past his face. Fortunately, the squirrel escaped up a nearby tree. Go ahead little girl… bite the head right off… Atlas nearly did!!

  5. Megan Says:

    Bad pruning is a surefire way to ruin a garden. It makes me so mad. It appears that someone decided that everything in this garden should be exactly 3 feet tall, and everything above it had to be amputated. It looks recent, too. What a disappointment.

  6. Racquel Says:

    I just hate when beautiful plants get hacked like that. They do that to Crepe Myrtles in my area sometimes. They look horrible! Tell your daughter to take a big bite! lol

  7. Kylee Says:

    The squirrel cookie is adorable! The pruning, not so much. Isn’t that just irritating to see? The electric company around here does some pretty nasty tree pruning. Makes me sad every time I see it. The trees don’t die, but they sure look horrid and grow weird, in most cases.

  8. Aerie-el Says:

    Ohhhh, that is so sad to see! Quick! Call in Plant Amnesty, champions and heroes of their mission ‘to end the senseless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs’!

    Of course it would have helped right from the git-go if the landscape design incorporated ‘right plant, right place’ principles before the plant’s roots ever hit the ground…so sad…

    That is the cutest cookie! And how sweet the taste… :->


  9. Philip Says:

    that squirrel cookie is so funny!
    and your comment!

  10. The hack job is awful, as is the fact that it was done this time of year when the plants will be growing slowest, meaning you get to stare at the bare sticks for months to come.

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