Joining in the fun with six things in my garden today, with thanks to The Propagator for this witty idea! Most contributors to this theme are showing images of spring — here in my part of Canada it’s still winter. It was -14 Celsius overnight, although much of the snow may well be gone next weekend as the experts are calling for a lot of rain and highs almost double digits in the coming days.
It was a brilliant weekend on The County – just above freezing during the day, just below freezing at night, a bit of rain late Saturday, a lot of sun on Sunday. Pretty perfect.
Sunday morning there was a very light frost covering everything; I went out just before the sun hit and melted it away.
Mid winter is often considered the best time to prune fruit trees:
- the tree is dormant so sap isn’t running;
- the cold means insects and fungal diseases aren’t going to enter the cutting wound;
- there’s no leaves so you can clearly see the branching structure
I only have three fruit trees: dwarf sour cherry (Romeo, Juliette and Crimson Passion, all from the ‘Romance’ series developed by the University of Saskatchewan), now entering their fourth growing season after planting. The first year there wasn’t much growth – I figure roots were getting established. The next year there were a few blossoms and some growth – I cut off two or three small branches last winter. Last year there was a lot of vegetative growth – branches going every which way (maybe that’s why these particular trees are called ‘bush’ cherries) plus a lot of flower blossoms. No cherries though – some started to form but then fell off while still green; I think it was just too wet last spring.
I needed to prune though and Sunday was the perfect day — not too cold and the snow depth had gone down enough to see where I wanted to cut. Plus, I wanted to spend as much time outdoors in the sun as possible. My goal was to leave branches that grow up, not down, sideways and diagonally. Here is the results for one of them – I hope I didn’t cut off too much.
Part of the beauty of winter is discovering shapes, textures, colours and relationships in plants that you can’t see in the growing season. Tree trunks growing in weird and wonderful directions. Fat buds waiting to burst. Bronzed coniferous foliage or bright red deciduous branches. The weathered leaf of this Cup Plant (Silphium perforliatum) is an example. From afar it’s just a deaf leaf. But up close, for me, on a silent, cold, frosty morning, it’s a mini sculpture. In colour or in black and white.