Today I pruned both fruit trees – possibly the earliest I’ve ever done them. I was feeling fairly confident about tackling the apple tree after its hard cut last year. Basic approach: take off anything incorrect, about half of the long new growth, and then halve the length of what remains. We’ll see what happens in the summer and whether it goes mad again. There was one branch that had to come off because of canker, plus a few other little damaged bits, but for the most part it’s in good health.

The pear tree is an odd thing, but I think I found a good approach and was strict with cutting off  what was heading towards/through the fence. I also shortened its right hand side to make it rounder. The centre has clearly been cut out on multiple occasions, including this time because it didn’t look right, but it does leave a bit of a hole in the middle.

The dead nettle has suddenly arrived in Elder Corner and is pushing nicely through the twig pile. The tete a tete bulbs have started to appear and some were growing through a hole in this piece of bark until I moved it to revel more bulbs.

In the afternoon I had a look under the allotment hedge by the gate and found a big lump of tree that had been cut and dumped. It’s the one with soft bark, which turns out to be cork oak. I wonder where the tree is exactly. One end had a piece jutting out and I managed to wedge it against the trellis and fence post. Putting the strong cane back into the now much smaller hole has helped support that post more.

In an effort to stop more clay running into the pond, I made a couple of hessian logs and stuffed them up into the space behind the back pole. That pole used to sit flush, but has had a gap since it was put back after the fox knocked it. There’s set mud showing on the side of the pond to the right, but it feels like clearing it out could be a net negative, disturbing it and causing more to flow.

The roots of the loosestrife and the side of some of the iris bulbs was showing, so I carefully added some more soil around them and tried to cover any soil showing with pebbles and wood. The front edge is not perfect yet. The phlox isn’t looking very healthy and I might need to move it somewhere it can root down better. The dwarf chamomiles look happy enough.

I saw my first wildlife at the pond this weekend – a tiny fly landed briefly on the surface of the water.

The physostegia by the pond has started to come up, so I’ve cut down the stalks. No sign of the veronica or helianthus yet.