Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Ample Aunties of Prague

The disaster started small, as most disasters do. Snug against the side of the house, a wall of Prague viburnums stands guard, sturdy, reliable matrons in a sly seasonal dance. Green skirts hug the ground and not an ankle is bared. Full bossomed aunties with ample stomachs, they tower above my 5'8" frame, silently watching as I pass. I imagine they age as my dogs do, several years to the one, and cluck their tongues as I trot by, arms bursting with botanical babies eager to join the circus just past the garden gate.

Whether it was age or gravity, I do not know, but their perfect posture and sky-high height had begun to slump and bend, pulling towards the earth as a child leans for a toy. Arms reached out, patting and pinching as I passed, and my path began to veer to the right to avoid being consumed. Bending to tangle her fingers through my short hair, the boldest grew stronger as the weather warmed and I began to dread our meetings.

I hid the pruners behind my back and waited until birdsong distracted her, quickly cutting the branches that hung over the grass. Brave behind sharp blades, I cut deeper, thick branches and twiggy undergrowth falling round my feet. Embarrassed by our intimacy, I stepped back and gasped. Where once stood a dignified beauty, a tawdry hoochie now glared back. Bony ankles and long thin legs soared past the flowing skirts of her neighbors, their eyes averted, their tongues wagging. A flowing shawl of dark green framed a flat stomach and bare chest. She stood like a flamenco dancer, brazen and beautiful. Her layers of leaves lay thrown against the grass, see-through lingerie replacing the girdle and sensible shoes.

I stepped closer to survey the damage, the branches of her neighbors jabbing my sleeves and neck. I could hear them whispering and stood silently to listen. I smiled, agreed, and set to work. Off came the support bras, boring belts, and modest dresses. Like giggling schoolgirls changing behind a screen, they shimmied and shook, branches and leaves tossed with abandon. I cut and shaped, a dressmaker armed with pins and lace. Then stepping back to view my charges, I gasped once more. Long hair tossed to the side, they stood with hands on hips, bottoms breezy under miniskirts and tiny dresses. Full cleavage spilled from low cut tops, tight flower buds bursting from the fabric. New growth to hide their shameless posturing slowly grows beneath their skin, but for now they are free, high spirited youth bursting into spring.



The one that started it all... 




 The whole naughty bunch! My property on this side of the house is very shallow. Prague viburnums are evergreen, low-maintenance shrubs with white spring flowers. They provide excellent cover and nesting sites for birds.

19 comments:

  1. I had no idea you could prune stately shrubs into such brazen, wild women! Exposed and flaunting it! This was a cute post and you did such a great job raising the viburnum's skirts. The whole hedge looks great now (but keep an eye on their newly liberated behavior).

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  2. Oh my word! What a scandal! It's as if you posted one of those antique French postcards that the WWI doughboys brought back from the war. Tsk tsk. A little decorum, if you please!

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  3. Really cute and entertaining story with so much bawdy and tawdry imagery.

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  4. What a fun post, and the comments are just as entertaining! And thanks for the great view of the Epimediums. I really need to plant some--I love the foliage as much as the flowers!

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  5. Oh my! You are an amazing writer! Entertaining post and comments! Love it!

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  6. How delightful! And they look better for it.

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  7. I was admiring the flowers with sun rays in the background and noted this, "To best view the flowers, you have to be an inch tall!" Do you mean the height of my eyes? The flowers look perfect in my eyes.

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  8. I loved the line 'to best view you have to be one inch tall'. Immediately I pictured myself as a tiny fairy looking up into these beautiful flowers. Great post.

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  9. Such fun! If only a talented gardener with pruning shears could transform me from a matron affected by gravity and age to a young and slim girl :)

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  10. You did a great job pruning them. I have not read a better written story on pruning a shrub:)

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  11. Great post! And I especially love Ginny's comment!! Amen!

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  12. I could definitely use some pruning myself!! I thought I'd have fun with the fact that I'd butchered a shrub while attempting to prune it. They looked so different once I was done, all skinny legs and decolletage, so I thought I'd just run with. I've probably watched too many makeover shows!! :o)

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  13. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden
    What a wonderful post. Your writing is superb. And I love Laurrie's comment- you are two of the best garden writers in the blogosphere in my humble opinion.

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  14. Wow. You have an impressive flair for writing - I am impressed (and just a tad jealous, ha ha).
    What a beautiful, well-written post - thank you for my afternoon smile!

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  15. Brilliant! If I was half as talented with pruners as you are with words, I'd have a perfectly manicured garden. Glad you were able to rejuvenate your Prague ladies. If only we could all defy age and gravity so! ;)

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  16. I never knew you could have so much fun pruning! Certainly puts yard work in a different light! Once again, beautiful pictures.
    Cheryl

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  17. They look great! You'd never know they "had some work done".

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  18. Terrific post! As I have just finished pruning a bunch of shrubs of my own, I can appreciate it. You did a great job! Your viburnums are stately and beautiful. I have several different kinds of viburnums. They are wonderful shrubs.

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  19. Good stuff, Casa. You not only went where most folks would never have the courage to (many people seem terrified to trim even deadwood out of their shrubs), you did a poetic job in describing it. Surely by now those matrons are back to their stuffy old selves. Any thoughts about freeing them again?

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