This photo of a transected hedge reminded me that one gardening skill I have never acquired is the ability/willingness to aggressively prune perennials. A decade ago the burning bush (Euonymus spp.) next to our sidewalk was chest-high.
Because I loved the vivid autumn color, I pruned it minimally, so now it is enormous and extending over the sidewalk.
Now if I try to prune it back, I encounter the hardwood branches revealed in the top cross-section photo, which might not leaf out if pruned to that level. And if I don't prune, visitors who brush against it learn what one commenter said when viewing the cut hedge:
"...as a kid, running into one playing football or something and thinking it would be soft. nope, stabby."Stabby is right.
The lesson repeats itself elsewhere. The birch behind the burning bush was planted too near the house, then leaned out over the sidewalk seeking light and had to be sacrificed when winter snows brought in down too low. Our crabapple has gone in 18 years from tidy to enormous and now drops fruit everywhere. The junipers change from tidy to bulky. Everything in the garden competes for the limited light and water. As a gardener I should be more assertive in setting limits for them.
Perhaps in my next life.