One of the previous owners of our house planted a bamboo plant next to a little bubble fountain. It's attractive, and gives the garden a slightly Japanese feel, but they neglected to plant the bamboo in a pot sunk into the ground. Consequently, the plant has drawn up complex invasion plans (complete with little model bamboo plants placed on a huge map, which are pushed about by uniformed young women with long sticks), and is gradually strangling any other plants rash enough to be sitting immobile in its rampaging path.
So, at the weekend, I decided that it was time to launch the counter attack, and reclaim some territory. I didn't want to just destroy it, because it does form quite a nice, rounded clump, but I wasn't at all confident in my ability to cut it back evenly. I was half expecting to end up in a kind of Right Said Fred situation, cutting back more and more to try and even it up, until the bamboo was a couple of sad-looking bare twigs. However, I must have more topiary skills than I gave myself credit for, because it ended up as a smaller version of the rounded clump I started with. Despite the fact that it was hard work (particularly the bit when I had to climb into the shrubbery to lop off the shoots that were coming up in an adjacent bed), I found pruning quite therapeutic. There's something about brutally attacking greenery with sharp shears that makes you forget your worries for a while.