Minus my Cotinus?

We have three cotinus plants here at “Chateau Croft”. In the front garden we have a “Royal Purple”; a wonderful specimen which, after some careful pruning, became a plum-coloured people pleaser.

In the back garden we have a “Grace” and a green variant, both bought on a whim (at considerable discount) several years ago, whose name escapes me. It is about these two that I write.

The green variant (let’s call it “Greenie”) sat there and grew quite happily with a slow-growing habit and remained a pretty, frothy little shrub for a good two or three years. Last year however, for no apparent reason  it transformed into a huge, dense thug which began to dominate the border in which it sat.

Grace, the other bargain aisle special, had become decidedly leggy. It had been pruned at the “appropriate” time of year (late winter/early spring, by “the book”) on many occasions but never really attained a decent framework.

So…time for something more radical for February!  Out came the loppers and pruning saw and I had at the pair of them, down to around 100mm (4 ins)!

After I committed what felt like a horticultural atrocity, I stood back and looked at my work. Hmmm. Was this act of bush butchery too much?

I inspected the stumps over the following weeks, and while  Greenie showed a reassuring amount of recovery, Grace…didn’t. Bearing in mind that Grace was the more mature of the two, I had expected it to be the stronger, but I hadn’t taken into account the surrounding shrubs competing for nutrients, particularly a rather large lilac on the other side of the fence.  B*gger!

At the time of writing, Grace has begun to show signs of regrowth, but not much. Let’s see if a top dressing of fertilizer will give it a kick…

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