Ah, February!

It’s the month of cooking maple syrup and raspberry jam, snowdrops on the hillside, hellebores getting into their stride, lots of germination, and the start of some serious pruning. Last year our February was packed with snow, but this year even the torrential rains we endured for the past five weeks have slowed somewhat, encouraging me to be outdoors each day.

I’ve almost completed pruning all of Coppertop’s roses. The climbers are most challenging. I’m training the new Iceberg in the rose garden on an obelisk, tying it securely. Although I’ve read that Icebergs aren’t known for their thorns, mine has bitten me a few times, despite leather gloves. Some of the half-dozen hot pink climbers that were planted all over when we moved in are about to be ousted in favor of prettier and more disease resistant varieties. More on that another time.

The biggest surprise with the new English roses is how they held onto their leaves until now. The final bushes in need of pruning are shown below — a few Princess Annes and Gertrude Jekylls. As with each of the shrub roses, I’ll strip the leaves as I prune. The second photo shows part of the other side of the rose garden, fully pruned.

Hubby’s been helping out in the orchard when we have a couple dry days in a row. So far he’s pruned the apple and pear trees. Dormant oil spraying will be next.

Many bulbs are up, from crocus and daffodils to the tips of hyacinths and tulips. It’s going to be a glorious spring!

7 thoughts on “Ah, February!

  1. Raspberries?! Even I don’t have raspberries this time of year. There a quart of blackberries in the freezer, but only because I did not have time to do anything with them when they ripened last summer. Not enough maple sap to bother with either. The same bigleaf maple is native here too, but it starts to break bud too soon after the sap starts to flow. There is not much time to get much sap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Tony! Winter is when I empty my freezer of bags of frozen raspberries — this year close to 14 pounds were left after other uses. Of course my raspberry canes are dormant now! I just pulled the maple tree taps today because I have too many projects in the works to check taps daily. It wasn’t the most productive syrup year for me, but almost 2 pints boiled down from roughly 10 gallons of sap is better than none! It’s delicious.

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      • I should use up our last quart of blackberries. They are not very good. They are the naturalized Himalayan blackberry. The juice is good for jelly, but the seeds are too big and hard for jam. The maples are the same bigleaf maple that lives in your region. I know it makes good sugar, but the weather is not right here. I only bother to get a few ounces of syrup from them because my colleagues told me I couldn’t. If I ever do it again, I will likely get it from the common box elder. They are more abundant. They are not a sugaring maple because their sap is not clear. I really don’t care what it looks like.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That looks so promising! The buds and green shoots are already so far, and between that and your greenhouse seedlings it looks like the year is off to a good start.
    All that raspberry jam sounds delicious!


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