Pruning prunes

pruned-peaches-07.jpg And now shall we refresh your peach trees? I learn so much vocabulary with Nicolas  when we garden together. But this lovely term had me rolling about. Way too precious a term for our straggly bunch of trees.pruned-prunes.jpg

We started the day with moving logs. You have to do things that keep you warm until the sun really gets over the mountain. Nicolas kept up his work on the trench above the wall. I did potting up of the winter lettuce. And then raced over to the Mairie in St Michel de Chabrillanoux to get a permit to burn the rubbish on the second lower terrace. You have to call the fire brigade before you start a big fire to ensure it’s a good safe day to do it. And warn them there may be a conflagration.

And now that I have finally made contact with M. Brun the bulldozer guy I realised that we need to give all the information about the work to be done to Nicolas as well. If I’m not here, it would be dreadful if he arrived and bulldozed a minor amount of terrace and then left. And Nicolas has kindly agreed to oversee the two days of bulldozing work. So we walked the course. Flattening here, building up there, digging out stumps. It all makes sense now that we have talked it over. And Nicolas has a friend who can work on the smaller wall work after the major terracing. So even if M. Brun does just the big stuff, we can get on with other more creative things at a later date.

And then this afternoon it was fruit day. We started with a lesson on how to prune plums. It’s a bit scary but I am slowly being inculcated into the dark arts of pruning. Naturally I was too reluctant to do much more than the obvious dead little bits while he was launching himself up above me on the bigger branches. The trees don’t look like they have been tended to for a few years. We can only trim a bit each year. Well, it looks like a big whack to me. But they look so much better. We have agreed to take out one of the seedlings that has grown up in between the plums. Just too crowded.

And then once I had hauled the branches to the huge pyre, it was on with the peaches. They are chaotic as the seedlings have been allowed to grow up into adults between the other adults. Crowded goblets of peachiness. But in we went. Secateurs flying and getting the mess tidied up. Did I dare to ask Nicolas to look at the roses in the courtyard as well? No problem; up we went and in about ten minutes the two straggly plants look bare and sorry for themselves. But won’t they be brilliant next year.

Payments in advance for the hiring of the motorized tractor  we need to collect stones for all the walls we want to build around the pool and the potager. Ambitious plans believe me. And Nicolas went off into the sunset while I ducked down to do a bit more watering. And raking up of the peach leaves that have scattered themselves all over the terrace below the house.

It’s been a reflective afternoon for the first time I am really doing gardening chores. And I realise that actually getting stuck into raking a bit of grass the size of a tennis court means that I learn so much more about it, rather than hearing someone strimming it from a distance. I get to see how the weeds grow, what the terraces look like (some seem to have been built up from rubble with only a thin covering of top soil). And it gives me plenty of time to think about how it will be transformed.