The majority of my  winter work  involves pruning and cutting back shrubs and trees in preparation for the coming year ;  but never  hacking  back.  I  regularly  drive past properties where the latter has been undertaken ( and often on a vast scale ).  It truly shocks and saddens  me  as  to what level of horticultural carnage has been   created.

Out of the vast number  of shrubs I look after,   over the last 9 years  this particular shrub rose (which belongs to Wendy and Alan in Much Wenlock)  has become   my favourite to prune and photograph.  Why ?  – the  flowers and hips are  stunning and copious, they also  make a great addition to any door garland.

On a practical note, pruning simply involves cutting out diseased and dead wood, removing crossing branches, weak   growth  and cutting back  to  ultimately promote healthy new growth on a balanced framework.  Hacking back  creates an image of  no knowledge as to how  it should be done,  no thought to the long term health or  aesthetic shape, whilst  using blunt tools. Oh yes, and not particularly caring either.

My pruning tools of choice are   the   super sharp Niwaki secateurs, Wolf Garten anvil  loppers  and pruning saw, and the   Royal Horticultural Society  pruning manual. I never travel without  them.