When we got here, our bougainvillea was out of control. I started trimming it very politely but my neighbour kept saying “Cut! cut! cut!” so I did.
I consulted the Royal Horticultural Society’s book on pruning. It’s almost a book of logic with information like: get rid of the old to make room for the new, cut branches growing in one direction to encourage growth in another, the way you cut affects the cut, etc.
So I would cut some then sit down to observe the plant’s “bone structure” before cutting some more. Having to clip with care was a very Zen experience.
Recently I read about neuroplasticity and neural pruning. The density of dendrites (from the Greek “δέντρο” meaning “tree”) grows significantly during infancy but diminishes during adolescence. Experiences will strengthen those neural circuits apparently most relevant whereas others will just fade away. Synaptic pruning aims at eliminating démodé synapses because removing weaker structures will give more resources to those remaining. But sometimes this pruning goes amiss causing neurological disorders such as schizophrenia.
And knowing this, I am pruning with the bougainvillea’s mental health in mind.
Related: Want To Rewire Your Brain For Meaningful Life Changes? Do These Things Immediately + Core Concept: How synaptic pruning shapes neural wiring during development and, possibly, in disease + Pruning…once again + Pruning a lifestyle
unpruned = scattered energy