Friday, February 27, 2009

Pruning Season

We have been pruning this week, a task that is much easier to do when the leaves are off the trees and shrubs and the structure of the plant can be seen. Time to clear out the deadwood. Cut out crossing branches,  last years spent flowers, and strengthen the structure and form of the branching for future growth and abundance. 

It can be painful work. We tackled a flowering quince this week that was generations old and never been pruned. We removed more than half of the older stems from the base, so crowded, it was difficult to get a saw or pruners in to cut! Quince have painful thorns. this is probably why the  gangly species so seldom get any pruning attention from gardeners, even though it is recommended to thin every year. But once the task was done, an open vase shaped appearance was so much improved! Just in time for flowering.  

Sometimes I think that good pruning is the most ignored part of maintaining a garden. It is a thankless task, usually done at a bleak and gloomy time of year. Most would rather stay inside with a good book, if given a choice.... it is just easier to clip the tops on a warm spring day and turn something into a meatball or a square. Clearing out the old and unproductive from the inside out can make all the difference in the world.

Since I use gardening as a metaphor for life, it is interesting to watch our government begin the process of trying to prune and shape budgets,  cut out the deadwood and that which does not bear fruit.   It will be a tough and thankless job there as well.

On a personal level what in our own life needs pruning, restructuring and cleaning up? I am sure there is plenty...I am going to start with a good spring cleaning of my house and garden. I have only lived here for 2 years and I can not believe how much stuff accumulates...and I don't even buy stuff, I asked people not to give me knick knacks a long time ago~ 
So clear out and clean up is my mantra these days. 

I have been observing this strange little bud swelling on my slope. I have no idea what it is. It doesn't look like any other narcissus bud in the garden, but the leaves are similar.
Last Easter I brought home a lot of bulbs, from friends, and the offspring from an old bed at the nursery.  

It will fun to see what shows up from the strays I brought home. As you can see I still have a lot of leaf raking to do.

We have also started restoring a walkway in Wilkesboro, as it was eroding and actually dangerous to walk on it was so disrupted. We improved the grade by adding two steps. We are reusing the original stone, which is a bit too thin for a solid walkway, but now the stones are packed in stone dust and will be much more stable. We may plant Roman Chamomile in a few of the cracks.  

It is good to back at work with Finn. He has spent the last month at a building site over the hill where the construction workers throw the stick and ball for him all day. He needed a crew of boys for sure, all I did was paint, so boring for the brown fuzzy lab.  I go pick him up at 4:00 when the crew quits for the day, or when ever I have to go somewhere.  He comes home happy and exhausted. The crew knows who I am and we share Finn well. I have no heart to confine him to our wee half acre wood with the electric fence. Big plus...he did not get fat this winter~

They did bring him home one evening when they stayed late to pour concrete, no lab paw prints on the new churches front stoop please. Now that the building is enclosed, they even let him in to follow the crews inside. I notice they don't do that with the other 3 neighborhood dogs who are there everyday as well.

Everybody loves Finn. He loves everybody. He has a very good life. So do I, even if I come hope hands bleeding, sore muscles, and chilled to the bone, I love my job.

Wednesday, we worked on the Ripshin Dairy farm, pruning. All the baby goats are being born. We got to play with 40 little newborns, all dressed in little sweatshirts to keep them warm. I tried to get some photo's but by the time I finished work for the day, they were all napping. I didn't want to disturb them or the nervous moms.
Like I said....I love my job. Everyday is an adventure.

1 comment:

John said...

Pruning is an essential garden chore to cut back foliage of tired and worn plants to encourage new growth.