• Overstrand Life

Saturday 15th January 2022 - Pruning, Accomplishments and Basking Foxes

There are some things I have difficulty in understanding the concepts; pruning is one. I have listened to talks at the Gardening Club and read about the subject but apart from raspberries, I always feel unsure when I walk towards a plant or tree, armed with secateurs, parrot bills and, for the fruit trees, loppers. I can be over zealous when it comes to cutting back, so this doesn’t help matters. Anyway, I have a list of our fruit trees and bushes showing when to prune. Starting at the beginning of the year, the first two for winter pruning, are our grape vines and apple. On Wednesday, although cold it was sunny with blue skies, I felt myself drawn to the grape vines. We have never had much success with our two vines despite removing bunches, in their formative stages, leaving others to mature. At the best we get grapes about the size of peas, which we leave for the birds. I decided this year to be a bit more ruthless with the secateurs and after filling two buckets full with last year’s growth, I went back indoors for a warm up, where Peter queried my pruning and cast doubts as to whether we would get any grapes at all this year. Oh heck, I thought, I must have really overdone it this year. Peter suggested I looked on YouTube at one of the videos on grape vine pruning, which I did. What a relief, as I learnt rather than overdoing it, I have not cut the vines back hard enough. I am still a bit apprehensive about such a hard cut back – it does look so drastic – but I will go out with my secateurs, plus the parrot bills as I can see there are a couple of thick stems which need to be removed completely. I shall then be watching for new shoots, leaves, blooms and maybe, come late summer, some decent sized grapes.

As mentioned, Wednesday was bright and sunny. This continued through Thursday and Friday; such a winter’s treat, especially as it didn’t rain. We have had a couple more frosts but the sun has more than made up for these. I have accomplished quite a few things during the week – chucked out a few items of clutter, rationalised and stored others, collated recipes taken from magazines and websites and put these into files, ordered a new storage box, baked scones and a fruit cake, tried a couple of new recipes, done a few things in the garden, planted some seeds, plus the usual cleaning, cooking, ironing and walking with Barney. On the subject of walking, on Wednesday morning I noticed two foxes on the cliffs basking in the morning sunshine. Foxes are far from my favourite creatures but I just had to take some photos of them. I needed to zoom in, as they were well up the cliff face, so the shot here is not that crisp. I have also added one taken from the prom on what was, a beautiful calm winter’s morning.