Less than a month after pruning the grapevines, the retained buds are bursting into life. Since the beginning of March, all the hard work has been building up to this moment. The mild, sunny weather has accelerated the vines development but dangers still lie ahead.
Last year a late frost killed all the young shoots. Overnight, tiny green leaves withered, bitten by the frosty cold. The dry, dead leaves crumbled into dust at the slightest touch. But confidence is high, it always is. The weather forecast is good and in a few more weeks we should be home and dry.
As well as pruning the vines, the vineyard needed to be tilled and the weeds around the vines removed. This is an ongoing process until the middle of summer. At that point the weeds are allowed to grow. Their growth helps to slow down the vines foliage growth giving the grapes a better chance to mature.
The ideal time to check on the trellises and training wires is while the vines are still dormant. The weight of last year’s crop had left some wires sagging and bent. These have to be tightened in readiness to take the strain.
All around us Nature is exploding into action. Not to be outshone, seasonal cherry blossom has burst into bloom. It’s a magnificent floral display but all too soon the blossom falls. Snow-like flurries take to the air and carpet the ground. Finally the sweet cherries form, like clusters of rubies hanging from the trees.
Our neighbour José has an orchard full of young cherry trees. He planted them almost a decade ago and each year shares the sweet harvest. For him though, the fruit is merely a tasty bonus. These trees were planted as a gift, an inheritance gift to his children. One day the timber from these trees will be worth a small fortune: forward planning at its most innovative.
Until that time, José intends to enjoy his horticultural investment. To call him a crafty grafter might pay him a disservice. José has used all his skill and experience to produce a dual blossoming cherry: both white and pink.
their colourful display.
Everyday whilst walking the dog, Nature has a new surprise waiting for me. How thoughtful she is at this special time of year. A mix of colourful wild flowers will soon carpet the grassy verges with a kaleidoscopic spectacle of Natures varied palette. Even the roadside verges have begun
Copyright © 2014 Craig Briggs
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