This is Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla “Guincho Purple” which today was subject to my considered pruning. I had you fooled for a minute didn’t I, you thought this was a photo of the aftermath of a frenzied tree surgeon with a grudge? Don’t worry I haven’t had one of my funny turns, there is method in my madness. This small tree/large shrub (even smaller shrub now) is a summer gem, with its darkest of dark leaves and umbels of pink flowers it adds grace and drama to any planting scheme. It had, however, arrived at its 60,000 mile service and there was a lot of dead wood and crossing branches and all kind of things going on that make a gardener wince, all of which had to be sorted. It had just begun to throw out inky shoots. making it an ideal time to prune. A little bit of growth makes it easy to work out which are the live and vigorous bits and which aren’t trying hard enough; it is also early enough that it hasn’t expended vital energy only for me to merrily secateur away all its hard work. After the big chop I cleared the base of weeds, most notably some invading Lysimachia “Firecracker” (let’s be honest when isn’t this plant invading) and gave it a good old mulch with some of our premium blend garden compost. It will now flourish, you see, sometimes you have to “treat ’em mean to keep ’em keen” (fingers crossed).