I’m not terribly good with rules. It’s not that I deliberately go out to flaunt the law, it just happens. When I have a pruning saw in hand the consequences are more extreme. It all started very innocently, removing the water shoots from the Parrotia persica, to best show off its fabulous form and flaking bark. My eye then caught the Magnolia soulangeana “Alba” on the adjacent bed whose boughs were also decorated with little birds all in a row and thought I might as well trim those off as well. At this point the devil appeared on my shoulder “if you removed that branch you would let a lot more light in to this border” which was hastily replied to by the angel on the other shoulder “magnolias should be pruned minimally if at all”. Well that devil had a loud voice “no one will know, no one will notice, just get the pruning saw and it will be done and disposed of in an instant”. By this point the angel was in a huff and not talking to me anymore so I took the opportunity to remove a few more branches. I even enlisted a partner in crime to help me in my dastardly deed. In my defence against the charges of “inappropriate pruning” all I can say is, it looks good in a garden where light is at a premium and without any shadow of a doubt this crime will be committed again.