This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I beg a small space in your columns, to say a word or two against the method of pruning flowering shrubs, so prevalent among gardeners throughout the country. Perhaps a good name for this method would be " close shearing." By it all the flexile beauty and grace of branches and spray are destroyed, and the subject, thus barbarously treated, looks now more like a barber's gigantic lather brush set up on end, than the beautiful thing it would become, if let alone, or at least, if judiciously pruned at the proper time of year. By this method all subjects are treated alike, not only those whose flowers are borne upon the new wood, but also those which send out their bloom from the previous year's growth. All are cut to the same pattern; and if anything more stiff and formal, more shorn of all beauty) can be shown, then I hope I shall not be there to see it.
As I write on this sunny, winter day, a glance through a window near my desk, causes my eyes to rest upon a shrub, which has been treated in quite another manner. It is a Spirea prunifolia, set out by my own hands, in the spot where it now stands, just twenty-two years ago this coming April. From that day to this no pruning implement has ever deflowered it. It has grown, as God intended it to grow, into a beautiful spraylike fountain of green and white; and now, as the gathering snow-flakes, rest upon its branches, gently and gracefully bending them outward, nothing but the green shimmer of the leaves is wanting to bring to mind what a beautiful thing it is when it is in full bloom. Surely this is the better way.