Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My special chill-out place

I wasn't tempted to sit down! I did spend ages taking photos though – everything looked so perfect and pure and the light was stunning. I think I was the only person who had been on the allotment, but mine weren't the only footprints. The animal tracks crossed and re-crossed everywhere I looked. The bigger ones were fox tracks and there were lots of bird footprints too. I followed the path to the woods and stood for a while watching a fox, waiting to take his picture when he moved away from the bushes but my camera timed out and switched off with a whirring sound so he melted away into the undergrowth. Even so, we were close enough to have made eye contact.

The snow will be brief here. This transformation of the landscape is fleeting. I feel priveleged to have seen the snow work its magic on my familiar allotment.

Happy gardening – enjoy the snow

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pruning with the ancient gods

To successfully prune an old apple tree you must first remove any diseased or dead wood, any branches that cross over each other and also any that have sprouted up much higher than you want the tree to go. Then you should look at the shape of the tree, taking care to leave a cup shape of branches with an open centre. Only after this should you begin to prune the twigs by cutting the leading twig on each branch back by about a third to a good bud and the other twigs back by two thirds. That's what my book says, anyway. The reality is a bit more hit and miss with some branches too high for me to reach so they got missed out, and some twigs just too confusing for proper pruning so they mostly got all chopped off. However, today is Imbolc, a good day for tending my tree for the coming year, so to make up for the haphazard saw work I have tied ribbons to some of its branches and cast its fate to the old gods of the wildwood. Safer hands than mine!

Happy gardening and light a candle for Imbolc tonight