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Old Wood Versus New Wood (SFW)

hydrangea1At all times of the year, we see questions on gardening/landscaping sites with regard to ‘when do I prune my flowering shrubs?’

The issue, people, revolves around — does the plant flower(that is, set buds which then open up) on ‘old wood’ or on ‘new wood’. Now, this is actually a lot more complicated than it looks, frankly, because you can’t give a blanket statement on this. But in general:
Old Wood: You have a shrub. It is now October or November. The growth that took place THIS YEAR, is now ‘old wood’. It’s brown on the outside/green on the inside. (more…)

Rescuing an apple tree

appletree7Now, dear reader, you may never, ever be in a situation where you find a wild apple tree.

But then again, you might – or you might buy some property or a house that has an old neglected apple tree on the property and you’d like to rescue it and see if it will come into bearing fruit.

This post, dear friend, is for you. (more…)

Working in the garden at Christmas

BLACKCURRENT1First, hello again and your Aunty hopes that your holidays this month (whichever ones you celebrate, and Aunt Toby believes that in these chilly and dark days, that we need to do our utmost to keep spirits up, flags flying, drums beating and bonfires glowing) have been wonderful, warm, and filled with hugs, warmth, a big of peace and terrific food.

Ours, believe it or not, have been filled with working out on the farm, mostly pruning apple trees (more on that for another time) because it has not been its usual ferocious cold and snowy time here at Chez Siberia. Ordinarily, we’d wait until most of the way through the winter but since a) we have discovered so many apple trees (and again, more on that for later) that need major weeding out that we’d never finish by the time they’d break dormancy in the spring and b)the weather has been basically so warm that we figured we’d get to it early when it’s a lot more pleasant to get it done (rather than standing out there in the wind and 25-degrees F with pole saws). (more…)

If You’re Putting This Off, Do it Now: Pruning Apple Trees

This winter and spring have been nuts everywhere. Here in Upstate New York, we’ve had the driest and warmest winter that I can remember. Considering we had horrific hurricanes and flooding last August and September, It really makes your head swim (so to speak).

Which makes doing anything in the garden according to some sort of calendar a wee bit weird. Ordinarily, the DH would have gone out to prune the apple tree in January (which, even under the best of circumstances, is an onerous task – it’s cold and your hands freeze up). This year, he kept putting it off until I saw a note from one of our local U-pick apple orchards that they were out pruning in March. Now, between the ‘not what it says in the book’ thing and “It’s awfully warm out there…” thing, he was dubious to say the least, but since a) we had to get the apple tree cleaned up (that is, open up the middle by clearing out all the sprouts) and b) There were a lot of those ‘growing straight up in the air and if you leave them, they will get bowed down with apples, ice, snow and break off’ sorts of things, we decided we’d take an hour and get at it. Since the buds on the tree had not swelled or opened, we figured we’d be in good shape to do this. (more…)

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