Spring not far…
Denmark’s weather and temperatures perhaps a month behind London with snow still nestling stubbornly under the banks. Everywhere there lie “lakes” of thick milky ice. The earth still too frozen for melt to drain away. Not to say it isn’t sunny. Just that the warmth of the sun is like a one-bar fire in an open barn in a gale. Thank God for last year’s logs which a kindly neighbour has loaded and lit in the stove.
A huge sea storm has left the garden looking like an explosion in a tree factory, hundreds of branches of every size everywhere. And a hundred thousand leaves which we thought we’d raked… Next door’s tallest pine has snapped in half, narrowly missing both our houses but smashing the neighbouring tree as it fell. Even the birds have taken refuge. We load up on long johns and get to work in the wind. Too wet for a bonfire, we gather multiple stacked trailers of broken branches and truck it to the dump where it will slowly turn to compost. The largest ones we chainsaw for kindling for the stove
It is pruning time, too, for the fruit trees and ancient lilac hedge (warning: there is something seductive even addictive about lopping branches off. The gentlest Danish woman becomes dangerous with a killer gardening blade in her hand). But the lilac buds are starting to form and if you lie low in the frosted grass you can spot the first stirring of the spring bulbs, like a dead man’s fingers breaking through.
We stack the bushes and trees with new bird feeders while the tits dance like flurries of snow. Sighting highlight of the day: a stunning spotted woodpecker feverishly working its way down a bird cherry trunk.
The Scandi morning skies are astonishing – not so much rose petal as raspberry sorbet, forest fire or battlefield. The misty rays catch in the trees like cobwebs. The seas really roar. The pine martin seems to have traded living in the roof for life under the decking, at least it’s one step nearer the exit.
We work intensely outside for a couple of very cold hours at a time, then retreat inside for tea or beer and a nap on the sofas by the stove. We will be back again in four weeks when spring will be closer. Now, what about you lot and your gardens and lives?
Boom time for berries – Telegraph.
For a really good fruiting year you need a whole set of circumstances. The first is that the previous autumn is warm and long, so that the fruiting wood has plenty of time to grow.
Then you need the previous winter to have been properly cold. A lot of fruit trees are programmed to only produce fruit after a truly cold winter. With the trend for warmer winters, this spark to fruit production has been lacking.
The cold also kills off huge numbers of the pests and parasites that can destroy the flower buds and the nascent fruit. It cleans the environment into which the new blossom will emerge.