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AIBU?

I have come home from work…

285 replies

Itsokay2020 · 07/09/2022 17:34

To find that my ‘D’P has hacked away at two shrubs in our garden and it looks awful, beyond awful.

I do the majority of gardening and five years ago our new build garden was a completely blank canvas apart from a lawn and patio area. Since then I have planted trees, shrubs, plants and created a garden space that I am proud of, and a space we are complimented on. My phone camera roll is full of photos of the garden evolving over the past five years.

Today I receive a text to say that ‘D’P has hoovered, done some ironing and done some pruning, followed by a 😁 emoji.

He’s actually hacked away at two shrubs, which would have provided berries and shelter for the birds in winter, and reduced their size by a least 50%. They used to cover the plain wall of our carport, provided screening and allowed some privacy from our neighbours (and vice versa). No discussion took place, nothing.

AIBU to be so angry, to feel as upset as I do? Of course, they’ll hopefully grow back next spring. But they didn’t need to be reduced in size, I maintained them well and they looked really good! Now they are ugly, shapeless, and I simply don’t understand what possessed him!

AIBU? Any advice?

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Am I being unreasonable?

1768 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
33%
You are NOT being unreasonable
67%
EarringsandLipstick · 07/09/2022 19:26

No it's not the best time to prune shrubs - normally it's after flowering of perhaps late winter / early spring.

It really depends. Many shrubs benefit from pruning late Sept / early Oct & not later.

Early spring is not a time to prune any shrub I've ever come across? And basing this on having had various garden services in to tidy / prune when I can't. Once new growth starts you'll wreck it for that season if you start pruning then, surely?

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neverbeenskiing · 07/09/2022 19:27

I don't think the shrubs look too bad, OP but to be honest this would annoy me more:

I receive a text to say that ‘D’P has hoovered, done some ironing and done some pruning, followed by a 😁 emoji.

He's text you to tell you he's done some housework? It's like he wants a medal! I can't imagine there's many women who text their partners every time they do anything around the house.

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EarringsandLipstick · 07/09/2022 19:27

Oh God @hop321 😱

Now if you'd asked AIBU, I know what I'd be replying - what was the tree surgeon thinking, never mind DH?

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Hadtocomment · 07/09/2022 19:28

YANBU. It looks like the flowers got lopped too! Neater isn't better. But maybe he has a different sense of aesthetics to you and you need to discuss this (ie not let him near pruning equipment ever again). The other possibility is that as pruning can be tricky he maybe started and it's a bit like cutting hair in that if you aren't good at it you can end up evening it off until you have a total mess.

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UserError012345 · 07/09/2022 19:29

LTB

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MissAmbrosia · 07/09/2022 19:30

Think he did a good job too.

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maddiemookins16mum · 07/09/2022 19:30

There is a big difference between hacking and pruning.
YABU.

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fluffi · 07/09/2022 19:33

I think they look better and much neater now, I wouldn’t described as “hacked”. But unless you consult or at least inform him of all garden and house decor decisions it’s difficult to argue he should have consulted you first!

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HappyPeach · 07/09/2022 19:34

My ex did this once. I was out shopping and he called me to say some (random) bloke had knocked on the door offering tree surgery. I came home to find the only tree in the garden having been so brutally hacked, there was no option left but to cut it down totally. I was furious & really disappointed.

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Agapornis · 07/09/2022 19:34

'Neat'?! Urgh. I don't understand the obsession with neatness either, if you like green building blocks, go play with Lego.

He shouldn't have touched that shrub - as he clearly has no gardening knowledge, he wouldn't have known what the right time of year for a prune is. He could have killed it. Don't thank or encourage him, it'll make him do it again and before you know it half your plants are dead.

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latetothefisting · 07/09/2022 19:34

I do agree they looked better before but from your OP I was expecting a drastic difference and them looking awful, but they are fine. You are totally reaching with the 'they gave privacy from the neighbours' angle though Grin - those few straggly bits in the before section wouldn't have provided the tiniest bit of audio or visual privacy!

Possibly not the point, but why does he need to text you with a proud smiley face every time he does some basic housework or gardening maintenance? Does he want a badge or something? Do you text him to tell him every time you've cleaned the kitchen or taken the bins out?

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oviraptor21 · 07/09/2022 19:36

I don't think they look better. They look tidier but they've exposed all the wall etc behind them. Much better to just tidy up the tops if the ultimate aim is that they screen entirely the wall.

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JestersTear · 07/09/2022 19:36

It looks neater, yes.
However, for me, the fact that the bushes were flowering, thus providing for bees, and would then have been fruiting, would have been reason enough to leave them alone.
This is coming from someone who has a completely wild garden (on purpose) and has brambles and other 'weeds' flourishing for the wildlife. We hack it all down over the winter when everything is dormant, and it all comes back and flowers beautifully in spring and summer again.

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Blindedbythesun · 07/09/2022 19:37

I would be furious too OP I can completely see wheee you are coming from

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bluesapphire48 · 07/09/2022 19:41

When you feel calmer, ask him to discuss it with you before he does any more "gardening." What's done is done, and I'm sorry to have to say that you are not the only one who has a 'D'P who does annoying things when trying to help. I agree with you it looked better before, but tell him you want to let it grow enough to give berries, etc. etc.

Maybe someday you will laugh about it.

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Flowership · 07/09/2022 19:44

Amazed that so many think the most important thing about a garden is that it looks tidy. I like wildness, me!

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NeverDropYourMooncup · 07/09/2022 19:46

Much as I hate to agree with him (I was fully expecting to see them down to about three twigs and a defoliated leader), he's reduced the height in a way that means they will all grow in a much better shape and spread to fully cover the area you hate so much next year.

It's a world away from the 'tidied up bushes' that met me one afternoon - every single flowering spur of a rambling rose had been carefully amputated. Five days before they were due to burst into beautiful, sweetly scented perfection.

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Hawkins001 · 07/09/2022 19:46

I Understand your frustrations op, all the best

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Moveoverdarlin · 07/09/2022 19:46

He hasn’t ‘hacked away’ at them. He’s done a good job of pruning them back ahead of autumn. Personally I think they look better. They’ll flower next year and if you had just left them, in the next few weeks they’d look forlorn.

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Flowership · 07/09/2022 19:48

latetothefisting · 07/09/2022 19:34

I do agree they looked better before but from your OP I was expecting a drastic difference and them looking awful, but they are fine. You are totally reaching with the 'they gave privacy from the neighbours' angle though Grin - those few straggly bits in the before section wouldn't have provided the tiniest bit of audio or visual privacy!

Possibly not the point, but why does he need to text you with a proud smiley face every time he does some basic housework or gardening maintenance? Does he want a badge or something? Do you text him to tell him every time you've cleaned the kitchen or taken the bins out?

I agree with the why did he need to tell you ‘proudly’ what he’d done. Show him this video OP

www.mamamia.com.au/videos/comedy/the-sexiest-man-in-the-world/

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Loudhousefun · 07/09/2022 19:48

I think you are right, they look strange now whereas before they looked in keeping with the size of the wall? I thought it would be a lot worse though.

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Itsokay2020 · 07/09/2022 19:53

Thanks for all the comments!

So I realise it would help if I identified them amd hopefully this helps!

The shrub on the left is a lilac:

www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/lilac/pruning-lilac-bushes-when-to-trim-lilac-bushes.htm

This does need regular pruning, but it was showing signs of flowering again 😔

The shrub on the right is a variety of Cotoneaster:

www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/cotoneaster/pruning-cotoneaster-shrubs.htm

It was the tall/upright variety and care should be taken to maintain its natural flowing shape. Should be pruned in the spring.

He has also pruned my beautiful Flamingo Salix, I gave it a light summer prune last weekend, he’s taken it right back (just as the leaves were turning pink!) and that should have waited until late winter 😔

www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-grow-and-care-for-a-flamingo-tree/#caring

On the upside, he’s promised never to do this again without research first and, ideally, a chat!

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Danceswithkids · 07/09/2022 19:55

I feel your pain.

If DH had his way everything in the garden would be 'neat' squares and trimmed back with furniture in the middle like an outdoor lounge.

If I had my way it would be an overgrown riot of plants with a few interesting windy paths cut through it for wandering and perhaps a bench hidden away for reading.

We compromise! But I definitely have to live with more cutting things back than I'd like.

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Itsokay2020 · 07/09/2022 19:58

@latetothefisting he loves a manouncement! I once made a gold medal to congratulate him too 😂 it’s the source of much amusement at times but also drives me crazy!

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Bimblybomeyelash · 07/09/2022 20:02

I’d be annoyed too! In fact I have been in the past when my dh has done similar. Luckily he hasn’t completely hacked them back, so there isn’t any long term damage. It’s clear that you just disagree on the best ‘look’. And I am definitely on your side there, my ideal garden is not beat and tidy and trimmed.

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