Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Beginning of the End?

Stumbling and blinking I emerge from my lair, lured out of hibernation by the promise of Spring. Course, it's nothing of the no such which, but last week at least was bright and dry so it was time to crack on with pruning the orchard. It makes me feel so happy to be up among the branches  that I think fruit trees must exude some  sort of goodness. They certainly respond to a spot of TLC, seeming to breathe a sigh of relief when you cut out the deadwood and remove the damaged and diseased branches. After you take out ingrowing shoots, making a goblet shape which allows light and air to get in there and prevent blackspot, you step back, admire your handiwork and know you've done a good job.
The younger trees need a bit more encouragement, tipping back the leaders and pruning side shoots to make fruiting spurs. While I'm making all these little decisions I slip into a sort of meditative state, and by the end of the day I'm chilled, sometimes literally, so a cup of tea and a wee bonfire is in order.
This is my favourite job in the entire gardening year.