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Friday 26th July, 2019
Have you done it yet or at least planned to do it????
I know that many would say that we are still in the middle of winter, but not your average nurseryman I guessing, as I can see spring just around the corner....I know that August isn't officially spring, but for me it is.. imagine that if we were a cold climate like Calgary in Canada that it would be winter and it's now spring, that quick, but here in the sunny and temperate Waikato it goes on for what seems forever... lol from August to almost Christmas.
It's those little signs that are happening all around me, the days are just ever so slightly longer, the paper whites are in flower which will soon be followed by Earlicheers and then the daffodils (we have ......flowering in pots ) and Oh My Goodness have you seen that some of the magnolias have started their blooming. I think that Magnolias are up there as one of my most fav trees and they are just stunning in flower, we still have the best range ever. I have to brag a tad here.. probably because I cant resist buying them from the growers.
But its not just the sex signs of spring that I can see... look closely at your roses and fruit trees, well all plants really, and see that those buds are really starting to swell and plump up. Now I have said all along that we can leave that pruning until just before bud burst but time has an uncanny way of moving along fast and so I am suggesting here that it really is time to get organised.
You will need fine and fair weather and the rain should put you off until its fine again.. get some really good tools and I reckon that you cant go past a set of ARS (Always Really Sharp) secateurs and the pruning saws... tools, rubbish sacks.
Remove cross overs but not to the detriment of the plant as you mustn't prune out everything and leave nothing... (If its a bad cross over but needs to stay, then aim to remove it in a following year)
Prune to form structure
Prune to enhance the natural form of the plant that you are dealing with.
My rational here is that I have been looking at my own home orchard which I will own up to actually missed being pruned last year desperately need it done this year as the trees are really still in those three formative years.
Everyone gets nervous around pruning but its really quite simple!
In the case of my orchard ... I need to lift the crown or remove all the branches from ground up to a height that I can get under the tree, in short, really set the height of the trunk.
Now I want trees that are vase shaped as they are all set in a traditional home garden layout so that means an open form a bit like a starfish with approx 5 main structural branches and an open centre for the light to get into the centre of the trees and will give plenty of air movement
Then I will head back the long branches to an outward facing bud to bring the tree back into the centre and promote more growth that will further enhance the future development of the tree.
Get into those roses as well again
If you're pruning new seasons plants then they really just need a tidy up after being machine pruned. I don't like to cut these back too hard as I believe that you need to maintain a balance of leaves to be able to grow the plant well ... again with a new seasons rose the first three years are really about creating the structure or the framework which will carry the flowers.
Once you have an established rose bush then pruning revolves around the removal of the flowered stem but leaving a small amount of fresh wood to carry the next flower flush. I usually leave about 10 cm or 4 to 5 buds.
If the framework branch has become old and borne flowers for 5 to 7 years it may be starting to lose vigour and then you would look to replace the old wood with up and coming fresh material like say water shoots that may have grown in the Autumn.
I have to share about these espaliered apple and pears that we have just potted. They are amazing, they have been really well grown with quite a few layers in there... not sure how we would go about wrapping these to courier may be best to come and look if you are interested otherwise they would have to go by truck.
There are many ways that you can train trees and apple and pears really lend themselves to the art of espalierbecause they fruit on small, special stems or spurs . This is not to say that other fruits like plums, peaches, or nectarines cant be done but these all fruit on previous seasons wood and older... I have spied a persimmon orchard, which are beautifully pruned onto U shaped wires so that they bear the fruit on the outside.. these also fruit on previous seasons wood and older ... lol what you prune you reap.
If you aren't sure where to start with espaliering you can always get one pre started. Either the pears and apples we have just potted or if you want a flowering espalier we also have some camellia varieties that are have been espaliered on trellis.
Hamamelis Mollis or Withchhazel, as it is often called, is a small growing shrub that has the most fragrant flowers that are rather unusual looking. Like very small shaggy spiders covering the bare branches. These are available with yellow, red or copper coloured shaggy spiders (flowers) the broad green leaves that come after flowering will also give rich autumn tones. Give them a spot that doesn't dry out completely in summer but gets full to partial sun.
Daphne are just budding up, cant wait to have that heady aroma in the shop again. We have 2 lovely bushy grades of both the leucanthe and the leucanthe alba. This seasons plants had to be put into larger pots due to their excellent growth which means big healthy plants. Daphne like very specific growing conditions and may defoliate a bit when they change location, usually because they have to adjust to a different light level to what they had grown accustomed to, they usually adjust fairly well though so long as you have accorded them some shade.
Helleborus. Ang has ensured you have a great selection of Helleborus to choose from, most are flowering now and many of them are displaying their amazing diversity of both flower and foliage. Many of these named varieties are being bred for more outward facing flowers and being displayed above the foliage rather than in amongst it and the length of flowering time with many flowering all winter and into spring. They like some shade but many are tolerant of full sun also.
Some to look for are the Ice N Roses collection made up of Rose, Red and White. These have large flower, are floriferous, and flower over a long period. Lilly has a beautifully patterned flower with a white background and an intricate pattern in pink overlaying the white. Madame Lemonnier boasts outward facing blooms in a range of pinks from fuchsia to blush.
I must say this every week (I know I think it) but cant believe that its Friday again... where do the weeks go.. hopefully we will nail the last of the potting of trees today and that should be us done and dusted for the year. The roses are now well on the way to be getting into strict alphabetical order and so that will mean that they are much easier for us all to find, then the trees will be next on my list.
Not sure if this weekend is going to play ball for getting out their and sorting that pruning out... Saturday is looking fine for the most part but get the task on your radar.
If you are off out and about for the weekend have a good one.