Posted by: jsmcfadden | January 31, 2011


It takes a lot of clippings to fill our green bin. Last weekend we filled it with leaves, dead twigs, brown and crispy stalks leftover from some spidery irises that bloomed as if they were Oscar-winners making cameo appearances in a TV sitcom that was the front planting bed.

This weekend, it was apple tree pruning. Some of the branches, new growth, already had small round buds beginning at their tips. John knew enough to feel no regret: those wouldn’t have been fruit-bearing anyway next summer. I worked on the potato bushes and just a bit on the lilacs — then was shooed away from them and finished off my Saturday yard work cleaning up the spent flowers on the azaleas.

Up on the ladder, stretching with the long loppers or the camping saw, John cut off branches that were straight and growing strong, pointing right up to the sky. It’s the twisty, gnarly branches that will be bearing fruit next summer. Those are the branches we want to keep if we want pie next September, not the straight young ones with so much promise in their bud-tips.

I am glad to have a Gardener who knows what He’s doing with me, who knows which branches will bear good fruit later and which ones are full of promise but ultimately just suck nourishment away from those productive branches.


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