Winter Pruning Workshop Part II With LUrC

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Happy March folks!

Welcome are the longer days, the squishy ground underfoot, the dank, deep smell of impending bud-set, and OH! Speaking of bud-set, welcome are the days when we start thinking about caring for the health & future of our trees!

And who better than to do it with than our good friends from LuRC (The League of Urban Canners!) at our Second Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop in Central Square in Cambridge, MA. We were fortune to have a clear day, a lovely homeowner and a pack of enthusiastic and interested LuRCers, looking to develop some awesome (and necessary) pruning skills to keep Cambridge and Somerville’s fruit trees healthy, blooming and fruiting!

                   H e r e   a r e   s o m e   s h o t s   f r o m  t h e  d a y !

IMG_1344Thanks to the 16ft bike trailer from the awesome people at Bikes at Work, we don’t need a stinking truck. 🙂  And neither did the LUrCers also arrived on-site with bikes & backpacks and peniers full of pruning saws and hand tools! (I’ve made note of this fact before and I’m proud to say it again: These folks harvested over 4THOUSAND lbs of urban fruit last fall in Cambridge & Somerville alone without using a single BTU to do so!) Goooo BIKES! We were pumped & excited to get started on the day.

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First thing’s first when it comes to pruning:  Site assessment. Looks as if one of our front yard apple trees is making some unwanted advances towards it’s neighbor.

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Ned and the group point out potential limbs to be pruned. Reasons include but are not limited to death, decay, infection, superfluous or crossing limbs, energy restoration & overall aesthetic.

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We noted signs of rot, damage from plows and garbage trucks, cankers and open wounds due to rubbing branches. We also found some new and lovely watershoots which we will work with in the future AND we spotted the sweet hints of impending flower buds!

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A severe canker spot.

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Seemingly Nefarious Ned going over the rules of thumb in regards to pruning tools, safety and proper tool maintenance (and looks damn going doing so!)

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Sharp as nails. Ned demonstrates the proper way to hold and cut with a pruning saw.

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…And time for the fabulous LuRCers to to take a stab at it!

Like all good things in life, angle is key.

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You can never be too young to start caring about the health, longevity and care of your local trees.

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In action!

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Assessing and diagnosing areas of rot on the tree. There’s so much beauty in nature, even in decay!

IMG_1338It was, of coure, another fabulous day of laughing, talking, learning, teaching, networking, sharing, and just really enjoying the company of all the LURCers! By the end of the session, nearly everyone was able to try their hand at a cut (not to be confused with cut on a hand) and they walked away more confident in their ability to properly prune fruit trees! YeeHOO!

IMG_1342Street hasslin’ with the local fuzzes….

IMG_1343As Ned and I headed back to Porter Square, jonezing for that nice hot cup-o-joe, we discussed how excited we were to work with such a COOL group of people who are sincerely and actively interested in sustainability and about how lucky we are to work in a field in which most people share that common and very real goal. So thank you LUrC for this opportunity for us to share our knowledge with you, to learn more about your goals for this coming season and for some of the most delicious homemade apple sauce and apricot jam we’ve ever had! MM.

Also, If anyone out there in the Boston/Somerville/Cambridge area is looking to have their trees/shrubs tended to, we are happily for hire! OR if you are looking to learn a useful new skill, we would be thrilled to give pruning lessons either one-on-one or in groups.

XO and so excited for spring!

Be well,

Jen

Shoot us an email: jenandnedgardeners@gmail.com.

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Batty About Your Gardens

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Lasiurus Borealis.   Sounds like it could be a Roman put-down, or perhaps a mildly contagious sneezing disease that one contracts in more Northerly regions.   Eastern Red Bat     is another way of saying it,  and it was one of these little buggers that had me on my feet, spontaneously practicing my own colorful expletives early one morning last week. It had been roosting in an Astilbe only inches from the ground (yes, that’s right… an ASTILBE) and for some reason wasn’t really that happy at being suddenly man-handled and treated like a plant, even if it was doing a marvelous job of looking like one. Be careful what you ask for!  Ahem…

So, red bats like to make a song and dance at being disturbed, with lots of hissing and clicking, hence my sudden reluctance to be so close to the ground. Looking down, i was amazed to find a beautiful leathery winged ball of red fur, with a set of rather unsociable looking teeth glaring out from the middle of it all. Once we’d both calmed down a bit and had a good-hearted giggle at our overreaction to one another’s idiosyncrasies, we decided we quite liked each other and parted on amicable terms.

Oh, hang on, why on earth was the bat hanging out (poor, i know) in an astilbe? Good question… Red bats don’t really like freezing their wotsits off and so migrate to their southern range for the Winter. This being the case i reckon that old Batty was passing through Cambridge MA  on its way further South.  Also, they’re not house/cave roosters like Brown bats, preferring  a deciduous tree or hedgerow and have even been known to roost in leaf litter. And astilbes…

Now while they’re not the only possible surprise in store for us in a healthy garden, bats are among our best friends (or , perhaps, bouncers) cleaning up the night air of  literally millions of insects that aren’t on our guest list. It’s been estimated by Dr. Thomas Kunz of Boston University that one species of bat alone (Big Brown) is responsible for gobbling up 14 to 15 TONS of insects each Summer in its range, within the bounds of route 128 here in good ole Massachusetts!   And lots of that tonnage is made up of insects we like to label as pests. Hurrah for bats!

Which brings me on to my point…

Please don’t get all freaky with your cleaning in the garden! Actually, i highly approve of people being as freaky as they like in their gardens. Carry on!  What i mean is, don’t go cleaning your gardens up so much. Don’t think you need to get all of those leaves, especially that little pile there in the corner you’ve had your eyes on for the past few weeks. Guess what? So has somebody else! And they may have moved in. And be all snug and asleep. Our gardens are our chance to help create a healthy, vibrant patchwork of ecosystems right here in our towns and cities. We need as much diversity as possible within our gardens in order to maintain a healthy balance. And that means the so-called “Goodies” and  ” Baddies” that are out there.

That little wasp that may or may not sting you one day is, for much of the year, silently helping us all out by relentlessly hunting caterpillars and other insects in our gardens. This time of the year she may well be tucked up within a leaf pile or inside a half rotten tree branch lying there by the fence. So leave that stray pile ’till the Spring and perhaps don’t get all house proud on your garden this time around and you’ll be helping to create a more healthy and vibrant community in the long run. And if your astilbe hisses at you, don’t worry, just pour yourself another gin and tonic and carry on.

Ned

Hey, Hi & Welcome!

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Happy October 20th to all and thanks so much for checking out our new blog site! Much like our facebook page, JenAndNedGardenerswe will be posting photos & designs of our work and inspirations, along with helpful hints, tiny magics and small happenings we stumble upon in the gardens here in the beautiful Boston area.

And for a brief, how-de-do:

Meet Ned!

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…and Jen!

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Just a couple of filthy, garden-loving, dweebs excited to transform your outdoor space into a place of relaxation, creativity and beauty.

 

XO.

❤ ❤