Old prune

New secateurs on old, old vines.   It’s cold this morning, but wonderfully sunny and still.

It’s the annual haircut for the courtyard plants.   So that meant climbing up a ladder and attacking things.

I had already started on the easier bits of the huge vines last month, so there was not even an hour’s work to prune last year’s growth.

The plants are gnarled and thick as your wrists so not very fetching in their winter non glory.   But they will burst into growth in a few months and I like to be prepared.

The mulberry was next. Or as I call it, my yoga workout.   What am I going to do when I can no longer climb this rather tricky tree to reach the tall bits of growth? It’s rather sporting even now. Especially as I have to take three different sized loppers and secateurs to cut the growth.

Well, I usually get away with two; but I’m having so much fun with my brand new Japanese super sharp secateurs.   (But in keeping with the tyranny of new secateurs, I will watch them like a hawk and try not to lose them in undergrowth.)  They are light and small enough to fit my hands, and can even go into the back pocket of the moleskins and not get in the way. I’m delighted.

And they cut through smaller branches with zip. Or was that me? I guess the wielder takes the glory.   A great morning’s work.

And improved as soon as the small furry fluff ball of fury came roaring into the garden.   I have no idea what Artur was cross about, but he seemed pleased to have a companion.   And he didn’t even complain that I am pruning away his favourite hiding place.

I almost suggested giving him a ride in the wheelbarrow as I took piles of lovely sticks for the chipping. But he doesn’t do joy rides.

After lunch I was back out with the secateurs and looking for something to attack.   The grasses.   That’s an easy target. I have hundreds of plants to cut back. It’s a job usually done in February, but I am going to be pushed to get things done next month, so they are getting their annual cut back now.

The barn garden (previously the calabert garden, which no one but the Ardechois can pronounce) was my first spot; these eragrostis are coming out in late spring,  you can’t see as I didn’t do a Before shot but there are a dozen huge grasses here.   And they are way too tall for the rest of the low plants.

It seems to take so many goes to get garden design right.   How many times have I tinkered with this long plot?  Every year? I suspect so.   At least it is mulched. And I can see some bulbs coming up. Another good reason to get in here now and cut back and stop treading on any precious emerging plants.

I have decicded to go at all the eragrostis this week.   That will be a good old job as there are around 200 of the things all over the garden. Some of them on steep and hilariously tricky banks.

What I really want to do is keep on digging in my potager. It looks so alluring from the distance of far regions of the garden.   But I must not be swayed. One task at a time.