Saturday, December 30, 2017

Winter life

So far, it has been a very dry winter. And the forecast says it is going to stay that way. Which is why I am profoundly grateful for the plants that continue to struggle through all this and keep growing. But here are the six gardeny things this week that are most on my mind.

As always, please do head over to The Propagator's blog. He started the six-on-saturday thing, and now there are several wonderful gardeners that post a weekly update about their gardens. Just stunning..

1. Freesia! My very first freesias. And the very first one of the lot. There are another 17 in there, and I can't wait till they all pop up! I use the phrase 'pop up' optimistically, of course. Waiting for bulbs to show themselves is an excruciating process.

2. The ghosts of malpruners past. We sort of inherited this orchard. The ones who owned it before our friend bought it were true subsistence farmers. Which is another way of saying that their pruning was learned on the ground and very functional. And here I now come with a point of view that reeks of privilege- I want my trees to not only be functional, but also beautiful. So far I have been too meek to interfere with existing trees, but now I have a fancy pruning saw.

See the lopsided way this tree is growing?
 It should never have been planted here, right under the canopy of a larger tree. I took off a branch that overshadowed it. That's the biggest branch I have taken off so far, and I thought I did a good job remembering to undercut it. But clearly the undercut was not deep enough.

I have mainly deadwooded and pruned the smaller fruit trees around the house, but some day I will need to tackle the ficus that overhangs our porch. For decades, it has been lopped for fodder. With a sickle.
Now the lopping has stopped and it has regained a near-natural shape, but the malpruned stumps remain.

 I need to climb into it and prune. But the tree is tall. And to make life more interesting and the drop more deep, it overhangs a terrace. Hmm

3. The ghost of malpruners present: Or rather, non-pruners. I initially tried to train the honeysuckle over the trellis. But the honeysuckle won. And now it has formed a pouf on one corner. I need help and hand-holding. How does one un-entangle this?
4. Wisdom: Meet Gramma. She is the oldest of our hens. When we bought her, she was already a hen of a certain undisclosed age. That was four years ago. These days, she doesn't get around much. I make it a point to see that she gets enough food, and she seems content to spend most of her time under the winter jasmine.
I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon though. Maybe it is not age, it is wisdom.

5. Blind. I believe that is the term for narcissus plants that refuse to bloom. These lovelies bloom here in November, or are supposed to. They have not flowered for three years. Last year, I got fed up with waiting, and dug them up, separated them, and replanted. This year, I waited eagerly. Still no blooms. What do I do?

6. Sweet peas! I have planted Cupani this year, after falling in love with their fragrance. And here they are, going strong (touch wood) .
 I should nip them so that they will branch out, but that entails dismantling their frost cover.
And then erecting it again.  Maybe next week.


Jonathan Jones said...

Great! Happy New year!

Lora Hughes said...

It's after dark here, but tomorrow I'm rushing out to see what my freesia are doing. I haven't checked them in forever & to be honest, had forgotten them. You've set yourself a lot more pruning than my wee rose & holly dilemma. I shall stop complaining, at least for the night.

Lovely Six. Lovely hen!

Battulal said...

Great post..