Journal 28.2.21

Goblets of crocus flowers have appeared here, there and everywhere, and snowdrops having weathered the icy temperatures are beaming and bouncing around in the cool breezes. Siberian squill have been shining down near the gravel, and in my containers even the long anticipated spears of tulip foliage are beginning to appear across the surface. It really is all systems go and even if the weather does sit back for a while, from a floral perspective it’ll be none-stop from here onwards.

Orchard pruning in action, with the gardener up high on a ladder making selective pruning cuts - the sun beaming down from the blue sky
Orchard Days…

Work wise it’s been another key week for apple tree pruning and I’m up around the 15 trees mark now, with a few that have clearly been sent to test my pruning knowledge! So far so good though and as I’m roughly at the halfway mark, it should be all downhill from here – so I’m telling myself in order to stay sane! (Follow the link at the bottom of this post to see some pruning action!)

Bahco long reach pruners in action
The new Bahco long reach pruners in action – very impressed!

Tuesday’s pruning day was sunny if a little chilly, and as I worked away in the orchard I have to say that my mind was also engaged in listening to a good book – who says men can’t multi task?! Bill Bryson’s 2007 edition of Shakespeare was a delight and certainly made for an educational and entertaining day on the tools. The biography was easy to listen to being perfectly paced so that I could consume the content whilst also concentrate on the job in hand – something some information packed audio books don’t allow. If like me you wish to know more about old Will and the times he lived in, this book certainly makes for a excellent, well-rounded introduction.

Available on Audible

Aside from the pruning there was some progress made in the glasshouse, with seed sowing finally underway. Leeks, onions and beetroot has been sown that will eventually make their way as young plants to the Tudor veg garden, along with some sweet peas and Tithonia that are destined for ornamental borders elsewhere. Mind you, there’s not a whole lot of space in the glasshouse at the moment so it’ll be a task to feather-in the seed sowing, to ensure we’re not overwhelmed with pots and trays in the weeks to come!

Back to my home plot again and I have an admission to make – I gave in and cut the grass this morning! I know, it’s only February and it all seems too soon, but the green tufts were just getting out of kilter and, well, it only takes me half an hour all-in. I certainly wasn’t the only one either, as local mowers have been on the go most all weekend so you could say I’m in good company.

Lesser Celandine noticed on a local walk

In other home work, a garden design I’ve been working on for some friends has begun to move forward again. I’m really happy with the ground plan I’ve developed and have thoroughly enjoyed revisiting my garden design memory banks in order to produce a design. Garden surveying and brief setting through sketching to plan drawing – it’s been fascinating and daunting in equal measure but hopefully before the end of this year, a garden will move from plan to plot in real time – and what an exciting prospect that is! (I’ll keep you posted).

Before I finish I just wanted to record a moment in my journal following Monday’s ‘roadmap’ announcement for ending lockdown restrictions. There is still quite a way to go of course, but at least there are signs now that the country will begin to open up once again – hopefully on a permanent basis. In my world that will mean a return, in around four weeks time to full time gardening with staff and hopefully a full volunteer team for support.

A bumblebee comfortable inside the cup of a February crocus flower
Wonderful to hear buzzing everywhere again!

Reopening will also coincide with a time when most of our gardens will be in the midst of spring with borders filling out and blossom all around, buds will have burst and blooms will be doing their best to copy every shade of the rainbow. We’ve come such a long way now, and whilst I can almost sense the moment – it’s still going to be ‘steady ahead’ for me as I look to enjoy every inch of the garden journey that lies ahead.

I shall finish up there for this week. Tomorrow I head into the final ( 🤞🏻 ) week of homeschool support, with a good dose of orchard and greenhouse work intermingled for good measure. Until next time, take care and do enjoy watching spring 2021 unfold.

Kind regards, Gary

Link to orchard pruning.

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