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Advice on Planting and Pruning


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From: Peter Sterling

To: the Boquete Community:

   Over the past year I have visited various properties to help owners to consider what to plant, how to prune, and so on. For small projects, I may be all you need. But there are larger places with greater possibilities and greater need of attention than I can offer. 

  So I write to introduce Steve Walker who created the original Alouatta Lodge in Chorcha (just off the Interamerican east of David).  Steve is a highly experienced designer of tropical gardens. He knows everything about planting, pruning, choosing plants, and so on. He is a fountain of knowledge and enthusiasm. Steve left Chiriqui for a year or so, but now he has returned.

   He is available for consulting, plantings, pruning at the highest professional level. I write to recommend him. rooikop@fastmail.fm  6204-4109
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I second Peter's recommendation of Steve. When we built our house nine years ago, the landscaping of the l/2 hectare property had to be from scratch as it formerly had been planted in coffee. I hired Steve and, together, we decided on a botanical garden as opposed to a formal landscape design. Some of my fondest memories are driving all over Chiriqui with Steve in search of plants. He oversaw the building of an orchid casita, an above-ground fish pond with a waterfall, and an overlook on a high part of the property. Steve took a personal interest in the project, which I appreciated because I was so new to the area. He and his family have remained close friends.

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Pruning?  In Boquete?  I have found that you can hack anything off with abandon, and less then a year later, it will be right back as healthy and lush as ever.  All that careful pruning advice I followed in the Pacific NW just doesn't seem to matter here.

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Hacking and pruning are two very different things, Judy. The aim of pruning is to make or retain a particular shape and to provide aeration between branches. It must be done with knowledge and care. Hacking means just what it says: cutting back randomly or completely or, as you say, with abandon.

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