A good time to prune, by the moon. I've been out with secateurs snipping more dead wood out of roses and butterfly bush.
(See: "Planting by the Moon" in Book I, Wayfaring Traveler, Whale Rider of the Tide.)
It won't be an apricot year, after the frost death-knell two nights ago. Massively-budded lilacs met dawn today shrouded in three inches of snow, and look diminished in vigor.
Apples and crab apples are about to bud out. Oh for apple pies and cobbler this fall!!
Apples of Genesis infamy...
In Medieval times, many of the non-warrior sorts entered the cloistered life among men. Some tended monastery gardens and orchards, robed, tonsured, mostly separate from the temptations of women.
But long, long before, the fruitfulness of the earth was revered in a more womanly mode, as:
The "Venus of Willendorf" from Stone Age Europe:
Pachamama in Central and South America:
Demeter/Ceres, Greek and Roman goddess of agriculture, who loses her daughter and the world goes dark:
In the myth, her daughter Persephone is lured to the Underworld of Hades/Pluto. Demeter's dark grieving plays out as winter.
Pleading with Hades, the girl is allowed to return as spring flowers and summer fruitfulness, till winter comes again.
As winter wanes each year, fruit trees and vineyards and roses are pruned of dead wood and crowded branches to prepare for sound fruiting. If the frosts are kind!
Fruitfulness is not a given, with harsh weather, earth changes, and insane incursions like poison-monger-Monsanto.
Historically, invading armies crushed an enemy by cutting down orchards, poisoning wells and salting fertile ground.
We have a modern equivalent in an ancient land: Palestinian olive groves, some old as Gethsemane, are bulldozed or burnt to destroy livelihood.
A scorched-earth path to cinder block settlements where once stood ancient villages.
It is an old, old story, rapine and plunder of the fruiting earth, a man-made winter.