Yes, it is, time to prune my stylish and shapely Caryopteris.
When I say "my", I actually mean "belonging to one of my Clients and under my care", of course....
Here it is, looking shaggy and scruffy, having flowered magnificently this summer, as always:
|Caryopteris before annual pruning|
Shrubs like these are simple to prune: you just work to the basic principle of roses, vines, wisteria etc to have a framework of old wood that you prune back to, each year. Err, possibly "to which you prune, each year" would be more grammatically correct. Anyway, all I do is carefully chop back each and every long flowered stem, right back to the knobbly base: then remove every single whisker I can see, until this is what remains:
|Caryopteris part way through pruning|
Sometimes I leave a promising shoot, which is growing in the right direction, to thicken up and become part of the framework: it's often a good idea to have a couple of reserve shoots growing from lower down the plant, in case of damage to the upper sections.
Next week, one of my jobs will be to clear out underneath and around it, to give it some air for the winter. Although it is now going to be bare and brown for several months, by pruning it into a shapely form, it can still bring enjoyment to the viewer.
And this one always brings entertainment value: the client here could never remember what it was called, until I told her about my mnemonic for it, which goes something like this:
Cary Grant, film star.
Optician, Optical, Optometrist - all to do with spectacles and eyesight.
So it's Cary Grant in spectacles. Cary-Opterist.