Pruning, Orange Gluts & Spiders

Spring is bearing down on us much earlier than it should be – it is almost 30 degrees today and it is mid August. I’m rushing around trying to do all the winter jobs I thought I still had time to do before it starts warming up – after a winter that didn’t really get cold in the first place.

Firstly my little orange tree has been looking a bit deprived of late. After harvesting the remaining fruit I gave it a prune, pulled out all the nasturtiums underneath, gave it a top dressing of manure and a good deep water.

Glut of oranges? After juice and giveaways, there are still too many to use straight away. One of my favourite cakes is orange and almond cake – easy to make and bloody delicious. The recipe calls for two large oranges boiled whole for two hours, then whizzed up in the food processor. It is a bit of a palava if you get a sudden urge to make a cake, so I just boil them up six or eight at a time and put around two oranges worth of pulp into each container and freeze them. Next time I feel like making a cake on the spur of the moment I already have the pulp in the freezer ready to go.

Next on the list was pruning the grapes. After pruning I was left with a pile of long dried out vines, so I thought maybe mulch them and use them as a cheaper (free!) alternative to woodchip. They are a bit of a fiddle to put through the mulcher, but having walked on them since they make pretty good path material!

Pile of sticks
‘Woodchip’ path

It was high time I had a clear out round the side of the house. It is gravelled down that side with a narrow bed against the fence – not that you could see that as the whole area was overgrown with grass, weeds, agapanthus, nasturtiums and a variety of other things I didn’t want. But the upside of an overgrown and messy garden is the things you find in there that you weren’t expecting 🙂

And some other unexpected treasures…

OK, so maybe this little one was taken last summer! The Andrews Cross Spider was totally chilled out and just sat there while I stuck my camera at her, but the little white Crab Spider kept scuttling around the other side of the branch so she was really difficult to snap. I was contorting myself underneath the tree to capture this!

(Apologies to any spider experts who are slapping their foreheads at my ignorance of spider sex and species)

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