Thursday, 21 February 2019

Orchard Tales

We tend to prune our apple trees in January but January just seemed to fly by. Before we knew it we were well into February, probably due to the changes we have been making in our living room. They took much longer than planned.
All of that is coming together. The finishing touches are just being done.
So now the gardening starts in earnest.
Signs of spring are all around, in the birdsong, the daffodils opening, the camellias in flower, the daytime temperature and the lengthening days.

On the way to the garden yesterday, laden with old carpet rolls and bags of clay for cobbing, in glorious sunshine, a colony of seagulls was wheeling round the fields with sunlight flashing on their white chests. I wonder what brought them inland.

I pruned two and a half apple trees. The topmost branches need the long arm pruner.
I have been doing our own apple tree at home and can`t help but be mindful of my Mum who pruned with long arms all day. They are quite heavy and unwieldy. 
One fairly large branch has been rubbing on its post and gone unnoticed.The wound was almost halfway across the branch so I had to cut it out. The rest was all very straightforward.
As I prune off the watershoots, I take out any crossing branches to let more light and air into the centres.
The next job was to clear under and round the trunks.
Each tree has a skirt of carpeting covered in chipped bark and a tube of chicken wire to deter rabbits.
The damson had growth coming from below the graft so I sawed that off and on several I had to literally yank out nettle roots.
What a very successful plant nettles are, roots travelling underground and the ability to seed as well. 

Here is the orchard in February 2019.
Here it is in February 2011 when Steve and I were walking round deciding whether we wanted to create the garden.
Here it is in autumn 2011 when we had cleared a HUGE pile of weeds, with much help from Tim and his tractor, and decided to have a mini-orchard.
What changes we have seen.
I got home in time for lunch after a very satisfying morning.
And my winter project is complete.



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