Autumn, I love you! Your coolness is so much more agreeable to me than the stifling heat of summer. I get to wear slippers, winter pyjamas and woolly things. I get to appreciate hot drinks and a warm fire. And I get to do things outside without risking heat exhaustion. Woohoo! I am trying decide if autumn is my favourite season or if spring trumps it.
I haven’t had much time for gardening of late, but I’ve managed to get a couple of things done. Actually, I think The Husband has done more gardening than I have in the last few weeks. What’s up with that?! Dare I say his fingers have a slight green tinge all of a sudden? But most importantly, guess what? I finished pruning the feijoa tree. No! Yes! It has only taken me like a year of procrastination and avoidance… Well, hey, it’s a big tree. Now we can walk right around it, it looks more attractive and more light can get to the other trees in the orchard. It is practically spewing out feijoas at the moment. I cannot keep up with them! Thankfully, The Parents-in-law picked up bags and bags of them for us yesterday. I badly need to do some preserving. Must. Find. Time.
While we’re on the subject of feijoas, The Husband has removed the resprouted feijoa trees from along the west side of the house. Whoever built the fence did it right over top of a row of big feijoa stumps. Novices. Didn’t they know how readily feijoas regrow? I left them for a while as I was contemplating having a feijoa hedge along the fence, but the big feijoa tree gives us more than enough feijoas, so having any more would be ridiculous. Now I need to paint the stumps with woody weedkiller so they stop resprouting. The fence looks very bare now. Plans for what to do with it include The Husband installing a clothesline on it and potentially growing grapes, passionfruit or both on the rest of the fence. That depends on whether I can actually dig holes and massively replenish the soil between the stumps. I’m a little skeptical, as I’m used to being trumped by stumps around here. I’ll put those investigations into the ‘later’ basket.
The Husband has also helped with major structural pruning of the two plum trees and removal of the shrubs right next to them. I marked out which branches I wanted cut and he chainsawed them down. He even learnt a bit about fruit tree pruning as I explained to him why I was taking those and other branches out. Some of the branches were very big and by the time I had finished with the trees they were looking kind of hacked. Never fear, they have not been hacked, but strategically pruned. I’ve never pruned mature fruit trees so hard before so hopefully they turn out alright as they grow back. Their centres have been opened up to let more light in for future fruit growth and strong, upright-growing branches have been removed or pruned back to lower, outward-facing growth points to end up with a lower, more spreading tree rather than a tall, gangly or criss-crossing tree with congested branches. Ideally, fruit trees should not be ignored, as a failure to prune them well, especially in the first few years, means harder work and less production in the long run.
The yellow-fleshed plum tree still has one big, tall branch that I would have liked to have taken down to a lower level, but it’s too tricky, being so tall and overhanging the fence into the neighbour’s place. Mind you, I think I’ve taken enough off it for now. Looking at my Billington plum tree now, there’s a distinct possibility that I took a bit too much off at once. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t take more than one third of the growth of a tree or shrub at once so that there are enough leaves left to support the energy needs of the plant. Obviously, I forgot this when I was high on the pruning buzz and got a little carried away. I just wanted to whip it into shape! It looks pretty whipped now. But I’m sure it will come back fine… While I was doing one pruning session, the neighbour had a professional walking around in the paddock looking at their pear trees and other fruit trees and discussing pruning options with her. And here I was, chopping away with my loppers and telescopic pruning saw borrowed from The Father. I hope he didn’t look too closely. At least my pruning was free!
The pruning mountains are growing faster than The Husband can chop them up. So many branches. Well, we should have plenty of kindling for the fire for a while and material for the compost.
Those are my great gardening achievements of late. I haven’t even pulled my dead or dying tomato plants out yet. I think I’m in the running for the world’s smallest gardening trophy. Vote for Twiglet, and all your wildest dreams will come true! (Shameless movie reference, but which one?)