February is a good month here in north central Indiana to do some pruning. Fall-bearing red raspberries are cut down to about 6-8″ and summer bearing just need old canes taken out. New canes that grew late summer and fall are left to produce this year’s berries. Since today is the first sunny day that has above freezing, I sharpened and oiled the pruners and made a jar of 10% bleach water (to disinfect pruners between plants) and happily went to the berry rows. Imagine my surprise when I found the row of fall raspberries has already been pruned, not quite as evenly as I might have done, but pruned none the less! You can see them at the very top of the photo, with reddish stems. Well, mark that job off the list. The row in front is the summer producing red raspberries. They haven’t been pruned quite so severely, but many of the newer side shoots are gone. This row has posts and wire, so maybe the deer were afraid of getting their heads caught…..maybe.
Moving on, there was more dismay. Here is the row of named-variety elders that were knee-high. I don’t think I’ll be getting berries from them in my remaining lifetime, but maybe they will grow back from the roots. The same was apparent with the gooseberries, which were 3′. Obviously, I need to order more Plantskydd and start using it well before the tulips begin to emerge.
Before we move on, vanity pushes me to point out that I have fingernails! This is usually a brief phenomenon, since I don’t wear gloves when gardening or any other work. Normally by now they’d be broken off during loading and unloading displays for shows, carrying boxes of inventory for the shop, etc. Fingernails, one of the benefits of retirement!
Since there was no pruning to be done, I did a quick walkabout, searching for signs of spring. I found lots of this…..
The squirrels have been busy not only in the gardens around the house, but in the potager as well. There were lots of exposed Tulip batalinii “Bright Gem” that edge the beds either side of the potager’s east-west main path and even more of the Tulip batalinii “Salmon Gem” that edge the north-south main path. I re-covered the exposed ones and filled in the holes where others had been. I will be interested to see how those path edges look this year. Last year, the “Bright Gem” were adorable, so I added the others last fall. I may have to fill in for missing tulips with more violas and alyssum this year. I did find a small patch of green tips in the front garden, which was encouraging but even more evident were patches of henbit, a rampant weed that I have been trying to eliminate for over 25 years. Not sure whether the seeds stay viable that long in the ground or whether birds brings them.
The ground was too frozen still to pull the henbit with roots intact, so that goes on the job list, and the walkabout continued. That inspired another topic, which I’ll share another day. Meanwhile, I hope there is more green where you are. And don’t worry, that jar of bleach didn’t go to waste.
I feel your pain!! It’s a constant battle, isn’t it! I’m waiting to see if it’s the squirrels or me who come out on top this year with the tulips. Last year the squirrels won!
The deer here (Mid-Michigan) seem to think we plant exclusively for their benefit. They’ll actually stand there chewing while you’re staring at them with a very threatening look. At least they never try to get into my vegetable garden. That would be cause for all out war!
Oh no! That’s quite a surprise to walk out to. My puppy tries to help me prune by biting the tips off of everything, but thankfully he hasn’t done worse than that so far. I was just fighting a battle with henbit this morning…I’m definitely on the losing side.
Puppies are such fun, always investigating, just like a baby has to put everything in its mouth. My deer repellent came in the mail today, so I can start spraying. Hopefully that will eliminate or at least reduce their pruning!