I've noticed that there are more birds around the garden at the moment too. We've got a nesting box that has housed blue tits for the last few years and there's been some activity around it over the last week or so. I don't think you can see particularly well on this picture, but the entrance has had some alterations made to it by the various inhabitants to make it easier for them to get in and out.
This nesting box wasn't looking like much of a des-res so whilst I had the ladder out for pruning the apple trees, I thought I'd better repair it. It's a robin box, with a wide space at the entrance instead of a hole but it's not much use for anything like this.
Luckily, I found a piece of old wood which was just the right size to replace the bottom and it was a simple job to nail it in place. I don't know if any birds will move in this spring, but I'm happier now that they could if they wanted to.
Repair job done, it was time to tackle the apple trees. This was the main job that I wanted to do today. Our apple trees haven't been pruned for quite some time and they've gradually got bigger and bigger, growing across the telephone wire and next door's hedge. The apples they produce haven't been great over the last few years - they've got smaller and smaller and are quite scabby-looking although they taste all right when they're peeled. Apple trees can be quite temperamental about being pruned but it's got to the point where something drastic needs doing.
I started pruning them on Sunday (my husband wanted to know why most women would be taking the opportunity to put their feet up on Mother's Day whilst I was up a tree, but I think he already knows the answer to that one!) and there was still a bit of work left to do. The trees aren't a great shape for climbing, but with the help of the ladder I can get right up to the tops and look across in the bedroom windows. It reminds me of being a child again! We used to live quite close to a small woodland where there were plenty of trees to climb and I would often spend the day there with friends inventing games in the branches and trying not to fall out.
If you think it looks as if I've cut down a small tree, you're not far wrong there. Some of the branches were far thicker than I expected them to be and although I am slightly worried that I might have overdone it, I am sure that the trees will be much happier now that they're not such a sprawling mess.
My next job was shredding the branches. I do like using my shredder, there's something about seeing garden waste turned into something useful that pleases me very much - in this case, bark chippings which I'll save to put on the borders later in the year.
That's pretty much all there is to show you of the garden work I've done today, but let's take a quick look in the greenhouse before I go back indoors.
Past the twisted hazel, aren't those catkins wonderful?
Remember the plug plants I bought? They're settling nicely into their new pots and although they haven't changed much in size at the moment, they're looking very healthy and I know that they'll be developing a strong root system before producing more leaves.
Here are my 24 sunflowers. Thankfully, they haven't grown a great deal either but they are definitely bigger than last week and pretty soon they're going to need re-potting. Uh-oh!
And just in case I don't have enough sunflowers, here are yet more of them in the seed tray - you'll be able to spot our house from space because of all the sunflowers in the garden!
It's been lovely to be out in the sunshine today, and I'm really pleased with the jobs that are starting to get done in the garden.
I'm going to be posting my star sock pattern tomorrow, so be sure to come back and take a look - just the thing for a new weekend project! J