New year tasks

There has been plenty to keep us busy and warm this past week and what a glorious week it has been, with sparkling sunshine, crispy frost and some spectacular sunrise and sunset moments.

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Two major tasks have occupied the gardening team. One is apple and pear pruning which will keep us busy from now until March. All the trees in the Jubilee Orchard will need attention, many of them still undergoing a process of renovation which will take many years to complete. But before much pruning could be started we needed to clear up all the old leaf litter and remaining windfalls, which can harbour disease from last year, and inspect all the tree guards and stakes. Both rabbits and muntjack deer don’t wait for an invitation to come in and nibble at the bark of the trees or nip off low hanging branches so we need to check our defences regularly to keep them at bay.

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Mary and Jane were removed the old tree guards, cleared away the growth around the trunks and made any repairs necessary – a battle of the tenacious!

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Meanwhile, Mike worked on one of less upstanding specimens, replacing its prop and protecting it with rabbit proof netting.

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We will be continuing with the pruning over the next couple of months so do pop in to see what we are doing and have a chat about your own fruit tree pruning. Each tree is an individual as you can see!

If you really wanted to get to know more about fruit tree pruning we are running a one day workshop on 19th March from 10am-3pm. Contact Cressing Barns for more details.

In the walled garden the winners of messiest job of the week went to Alison and Paula who were painstakingly pressure washing the brick paths, which become lethally slippery if the green algae is not cleared away.

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The result was much cleaner paths and much splattered gardeners!

The community gardeners have also been hard at work, with attention focused mainly on constructing cold frames for the protection of early sowings and getting seeds ordered. It is a bit too early yet, but before we know it the greenhouse and polytunnel will be full of exciting little pots and modules of veg seedlings, ready to out once the soil is warm enough.

It is a quiet time for the Cullen garden but we are keeping the bird feeders topped up and enjoying watching some winter visitors such as the Field Fare.The wonderful red stems of the dogwood (Cornus alba var.sibirica) and the green stems of the golden variety (Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’) look their best at this time of year, especially in the bright winter sunshine we have been enjoying.

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