Page 23 - Forest Row Local October Edition
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reflecting our relationship with our garden and with the other nonhuman beings within it. Whilst of course there are horticultural reasons for sometimes pruning at a certain time, it is for me very freeing to have this choice as It connects us to Nature and her processes in an inward, artistic way.
Whilst most fruit pruning is best done in Winter (apples, pears), Spring, (soft fruit) or Summer (plums, cherries) blackberries and their cultivars like tayberries and loganberries are best pruned in Autumn. This consists of removing the old stems that have fruited in the summer and tying in the new younger growths. Additionally summer-fruiting raspberries can also be pruned, removing the old stems and tying in the new.
There is no perfect time to mow or scythe our meadows. Traditionally meadows were often cut at Lammas (1st August), as this was the time when the grass was harvested followed by grazing from sheep or cows. However, most of us are now free of these considerations and we can choose our cutting time. If the meadow is in an orchard then Lammas is most sensible: we can then find the early windfalls in the newly cut grass and have access for picking. Other
October 2020 • Forest Row Local 23
meadows can be cut later, and even if the flowers are dead they have valuable seed heads for birds and also seem to have a certain undefinable and mysterious aura that still attract bees, insects and butterflies.
They are also, of course, still beautiful in their death, particularly when coated with the first frosts. I therefore tend to cut meadows in phases, perhaps starting around mid-September with the first cut and ending sometimes as late as November if the meadow has late summer flowers such as the beautiful blue bee-friendly Devils Bit Scabious. As always with gardening there is a ‘treaty’ to be negotiated with the weather, and sometimes it might be necessary to cut earlier than wished to avoid a flattened wet mass of grass that is difficult to clear!
By pruning, tidying and mowing our gardens in phases as outlined above we can remove the ‘shock’ of suddenly losing the whole abundance the garden has given us over the summer; and we are allowing ourselves a gentle movement towards winter, more in tune with the mood of the season and our inner connection to nature. Enjoy the Autumn!
Michael Fuller
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