Winter is tightening its grip on the garden at Ednovean farm now, yet new spring growth is trying to prise open its waxy fingers. November and December slid away from us so fast this year. Days slipped by, in a flurry of pruning, expectations and Christmas too of course. So it’s only now I’ve stopped to take stock of our Winter Garden.
Work in progress!
Over the last couple of months I’ve carefully added an under layer of planting to the little woodland and Charles has made a simple bench from off cuts of wood. We’ve had a master class in pruning apple trees and the first white frost settle over the garden.
“Here we go a wassailing…………”
“Wæs þu hæl“ or WassailingAnglo Saxon meaning “Be though Hale”
Traditionally wassailing took place on the twelfth night of Christmas to scare away the evil spirits and wake up the trees. It is a rowdy celebration of song, celebration and drums beats with offerings to the tree spirits to ensure a good harvest.
Our little orchard has been under siege!
But first of all the Wassailing had to wait as the orchard was prepared for its (we hope) bounty.
In December Danni our Spanish stallion modified his paddock to achieve his supreme goal of spending time under the vintage apple trees below.. And he embraced his new love with all of the enthusiasm that only a horse with a long (formally) flowing mane could!
Eventually it dawned on us that correct pruning was in order, as we viewed the sorry mess. So after a couple of attempts at watching YouTube videos. we realised we needed more expert help. Enter Sid Hill an ecologist with a passion for fruit trees. Sid bravely waded into the morass of poached ground and twisted branches and by the end of the morning he had produce five beautiful Apple trees.
The first pruning was to establish a goblet shape with a hollow centre to allow air circulation thus reducing decease.
Sid showed us the difference between growing shoots and fruiting spurs. The lean smooth shoots should be removed to stop the tree putting all of its efforts into becoming well- taller!
As Sid clambered about the trees, expertly braced in the branches it looked as easy as onlooking could!
And Danni? – well Danni has a comb over!
Apple Tree Pruning mantra
The three “D’s”
- First remove dead, diseased and damaged branches.
- Remove any crossing branches
- Aim to create a goblet shape with an airy interior.
- Remove no more than 25%. So plan and make each cut count for maximum benefit!
Next year the trees will be progressed further …..Well as soon as the electric fencer is repaired!
Tonight is the traditional night for singing to the trees but you know it is looking a little chilly. Still we’re ready for the year!
Wassaile the trees, that they may beare
You many a Plum and many a Peare:
For more or lesse fruits they will bring,
As you do give them Wassailing.The orchard visiting Wassail
The winter garden – a garden rooted in the landscape
Let me show you early morning in our frosty winter garden luxuriating in the romantic views over Mounts Bay.
Winter is a wonderful time to look outwards from the garden and the relationship to the surrounding landscape. Our sheltering hedges help to protect our garden through the winter months and create a micro climate within the garden. Yet in places it parts to reveal a vista helping to root it more firmly in the surrounding landscape.
It’s quite a good idea to check out the garden in different weather conditions to spot the micro climates. Surprisingly frost settles more on one side of the Italian Gardens for instance.
Surprisingly frost settles more on one side of the Italian Gardens for instance.
Frost brings an unexpected magic to the dawn
Finally for this month’s garden diary I’d like to show you our Italian garden. The rare (I hope) white frost in West Cornwall that brought an unexpected moment of magic in our garden.
A few snaps of the winter garden
Winter is just a pause in our garden year
Through the gardens now the spring bulbs are peeping through the soil holding such promise for our days ahead.
Who could not be happy walking in a winter garden!
To follow our garden through the seasons – check out My Garden Diary