Bloom Where You’re Planted

Last year at the end of summer I had the idea that I was going to trim the overgrown hedges in our front yard.

We have hedges on both sides of our front door, and I started down one side making cuts with my pruning shears until I had a pile of branches behind me.

It was a million-degrees hot outside and my arms were covered in itchy scratches, so I stopped trimming after I worked on just one side.

Now as the trees are sending out new leaves and the grass is growing greener, I see a major difference in the two hedges. The hedge that I didn’t prune looks very much the same as it always did. (That’s it in the photo above.) The hedge where I cut off the old growth is now covered in blossoms!

Pruning precedes growing.

I usually post something practical on Mondays–a way to clear out the clutter, but I’m going to set it aside this week because truthfully it’s not about the pruning projects, it’s about the growth.

clear the clutter

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. What a beautiful, thought-provoking post, thank you Rachel. Pruning, no matter what we prune (plants, possessions, schedules) opens up space for new growth. That growth could be new adventures, creativity, or relationships. Pruning is sometimes painful, and sometimes liberating, but growth can’t happen without it.
    Kim @ Extra Organized´s last post…Emergency present box

    • Kim, I especially like your idea about pruning down schedules. It’s the one place I look to last when thinking about making changes, like “if only I had more time to prune down my possessions”, instead of freeing up that time in the first place haha!
      Sarah´s last post…Nevermind! Tidak apa apa…

  2. So true! I posted a little while ago about my hydrangea plant that my husband jokes is a metaphor for our marriage ( Now every time I look outside and see it flourishing, I smile and feel grateful. Glad I’m not the only one whose plants reminder her of how far she’s come! :)
    Erica {let why lead}´s last post…When I Do My Best Thinking

  3. Most people say life is 90% maintenance (pruning).
    Xedty´s last post…Clear The Clutter: What To Buy and What To Throw Away

  4. Wow! This is so thought provoking! (one of my favorite things about your posts!) I am guilty of always wanting the growth, but not loving the pruning process… What a visual reminder of what happens if you never change anything…

  5. It really is amazing how plants respond to a thorough pruning! I do this with my lavender bushes when they get too straggly, and always think I have gone too far. However each year they spring back into life, covered in fragrant blooms! Clutter clearing at it’s best.
    Stephanie´s last post…A Signature Scent.

  6. It’s so nice when our cutting back makes such a visual difference.

  7. Love this, Rachel, and the meaning behind it. We must be willing to trim away the parts of our lives that are not needed any more, that are weighing us down. Only then can we reach out for the new that is awaiting us!
    Thank you for this!
    Bernice @ Living the Balanced Life´s last post…When all of a sudden, you’re in a bad mood

  8. Love this! So very, very true. We easily focus on the end result and miss the beauty of the process. “It’s about the growth.” Excellent post.

  9. On one side you have a non flowering wax ligustrum and on the other side is a flowering was ligustrum. Be sure to cut them with a hand pruner and not that electric hedge trimmer. The trimmer shreds the ends of the stem and it looks awful. Put a tall pole slightly in front of the bushes at eiter end, tie a string on this to keep the cuttings even, almost like shoring up grape vines, to give you a straight prune across. These bushes are beautiful and will grow to 4 feet wide by at least 8 feet high (I have made a front patio at my home, enclosing in about a 10 foot by 10 foot area to sit behind in the morning). For those scrapes, dip a cloth or swap in vinegar and wipe your arms or legs down and the sting will go away. Vinegar does everything just about. Good luck with pruning and your yard and thank the Good Lord above for the wet weather.

    • Actually the shrubs are Indian Hawthorn, so the flowers look similar, but they won’t get as tall. I completely agree, I could never use an electric trimmer after watching what used to happen to the hedges at our old apartment. Felco pruners all the way.

  10. Wonderful analogy about trimming away the past (which we shouldn’t live within) and letting go. I will remmeber this when I trim my ligustrums. Each little bloom is a reminder of the gift of the present and what can be done in this time we have. Thanks you.

  11. A little more than a month ago, I learned that I need to live gluten-free. At first it felt only like loss: No more of so many things I love(d). I am discovering, though, that it’s opening the way not only to new foods, but to a whole new relationship with food. Pruning is good!´s last post…Living room walls: Done!The transformative power of paint, one wall at a time

  12. Yes, true enough. I had a dead port wine magnolia, honestly it was doomed. But I thought I would take the clippers to it, and now thanks to that, and coffee grounds, it has a few lustrous shiny green leaves and I am a happy plant mother.
    Tasmanian Minimalist´s last post…No Fripperies April Day One & Two

    • I have a small dying magnolia tree in my yard too, and I kind of hate it. I think I really just want to have it cut down; I’m not sure I’m up for bringing it back from death. It’s so dismal.

  13. Amen. I feel like we’ve pruned a lot in the last few years, and in return God’s blessing us with big magnolia flowers :-)
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Week 35–Closing Week!

  14. Oh, so love this. We’re revamping our whole patio garden this year – clearing out, pruning agressively, giving away plants that just do not grow well in the space, selecting others that we hope will thrive a little more. Not unlike one’s life – trying to keep it less cluttered, allowing space for sunlight and growth, releasing “stuff” that has served it’s purposefulness, moving on with the next sunrise.

  15. for me, pruning is what happens when you’re derailed from the path you’ve set for your life, and new possibilities blossom.

  16. I LOVE this! SImple. Powerful. Truth.
    Debra Bell´s last post…Too Tired to Find Rest?

  17. The pruning process where I live is something that I dread. I try not to have this attitude but we are surrounded with the awesome growth that Washington weather provides. Sometimes it can be overwhelming thinking of all that needs to be done on our 5 acre property, but little by little I have seen the fruit of our labor. I have also realized that the metaphor in my life is that if I dread I won’t do it, so I am trying to have a better outlook about it all. Thanks for this reminder. Pruning really is so important for future growth.

    • Right now I seem to be stuck in the “dreads.” I’ll try to remember I’m not alone in this. :)

  18. A while ago I was weeding in our backyard (I don’t usually do weeds or yards for that matter) but it got me thinking about just how cluttered our lives can get with things that really aren’t doing any good. Thanks for the eloquent, simple reminder to keep at the weeding and pruning.

  19. Love this post! Very thought-provoking. I know that I feel like the bush this year – lovingly, but thoroughly pruned. We, elatedly, welcomed in last year with a new baby and a new farm – the answer to all our prayers and dreams – only to find out that a farm, although everything we wanted, is not what we need as a family. I have been humbled by the experience, but am SO looking forward to seeing the blooms…

  20. Thank you, thank you, thank you. What a perfect post for me right now. A few months ago I ‘repotted’ myself by moving to a new state, but now plan to return this summer. This time, however, I am ‘pruning’ my life – possessions, habits and shedding old, worn-out beliefs – to allow for growth. The move simply put me in a different place, but very similar circumstances – so no growth has or will likely occur. My heart/intuition is urging me so strongly to prune and trim and discard the old (as nice as much of it has been) to see what is awaiting me in the beautiful, messy, unpredictable future. Lugging the old around – physically, mentally, and emotionally – tires one out, but shedding it lightens one’s spirit and life. I can’t wait. I am keeping only a small tea set, a few clothes, maybe half a dozen books, some photos, my netbook and some baskets…all packed in my car. That’s trimming down to the root, but imagine what room for blossoming there will be.

    So, thank you, Rachel, for this gentle metaphor for how to live life.

  21. Rainya Mosher says:

    Ironically, I came across this post while clearing out my inbox. I had missed it when originally published to the email feed and find it wonderful timely. :) Thank you! I enjoy the Clear the Clutter Mondays so much and almost always find a reason to share them with at least some of the folks in my world (this one was with a group run of a Lisa Bryne Designed for Wellness course!)