If you get impatient waiting for the gardening season to drag back around, there are still plenty of garden chores to be done in winter. Over the last few months, I've been slowly doing the annual pruning that's needed in our yard - shrubs, trees, hedges, and vines. Our old pear tree was neglected for a number of years, and I'm still getting it back into shape. This includes cutting back the suckers sprouting out the top, and removing branches that cross others, as well as those growing from the undersides of branches. It looks bare here, but will soon be rich with foliage and by late summer, with pears.
While I was pruning, I found a half-eaten treat that a squirrel left at the top of the tree:
We still have the bay tree and the grape vine to do. Though the bay was sharply pruned less than a year ago, it has grown ambitiously. It needs to be cut back - with care - from that power line! I have also found that annually thinning out the interior branches of the bay, and generally opening it up to air circulation, has helped it fight off a mildew and mealy bug infestation.
The grape vine draping over the line has to go, too - it got away on me last summer. I save the grape for early spring - the optimal time for pruning it: