Observing the seasonal changes in the orchard is one of my favorite things about working at BOP. Of course the blossoms of May and the ripe fruit of August are some of the most exciting, but each month holds an important place in the cycle. The winter months are a time for rest, reflection, and preparation. Watching the dormant trees reminds us to take a break from production and grow our roots and foundation.
February is filled with anticipation. The dormant branches on the trees are tipped with buds waiting for the first signs of spring. It’s a special moment when we get to cut out old and dying wood, support the structure of the tree, and make room for new growth. Pruning provides us the opportunity to set up the trees for the season and the rest of their lives. I like to see pruning as a form of time traveling, envisioning what the tree will look like in future years. Michael Philips of the Holistic Orchard encourages us to “be the bud.” This process challenges the pruner to project the growth of the tree into the future and predict what areas should be favored or pruned now.
Pruning can feel a little counter-intuitive at first. After watering the tree each week and watching it grow why would you ever want to cut it back? The process of pruning allows more sunlight to enter the tree, air to flow throughout its branches, and for the fruiting buds to swell and mature. The fruit trees throughout our city have much wisdom to share with us if we steward and care for them. The process of pruning can serve as as a powerful metaphor to teach us about stewarding our own lives.
When you get out in the orchard with us this February and begin to prune the trees think also about what parts of your life you want to bring more sunlight and air too. What buds will potential overcrowd your life and which are ready to burst and provide a bounty of fruit to your community?
Meet-up with us and learn more at one of the Fruit Tree Pruning Workshops we are hosting this February!
West Side Location
Location: Whitelock Community Farm
Address: 930 Whitelock Street #4
Date: Feb 16th, 2018
Location: Remington Green
Address: 2822 Fox St, Baltimore, MD 21211
Date: Saturday February 17th, 2018
Time: 10am- 12pm
Location: Filbert Street Farm
Address: 1317 Filbert Street
Date: Feb 23rd, 2018
Time: 2:30pm- 4:30pm
Location: Duncan Street Miracle Garden
Address: 1700 Block of Duncan Street
Date: Saturday February 24th, 2018