The gardens at Pear Tree Cottage sit in a cider apple orchard in the green and rolling countryside of Worcestershire, England. It enjoys a sunny south westerly aspect with sweeping views across to Martley Hillside, Woodbury & Abberley clock tower. The Teme Valley lies just over the hill and, not far away, is the Herefordshire border. Although our climate is temperate, our seasons are often uncertain and always a challenge to a gardener!


22 May 2016

Dodging the Showers

Just a couple of blooms that caught my eye after mowing and edging between the showers this afternoon. With such high humidity, the scent of so apple and hawthorn blossom hangs heavy in the air and is noticed as soon as one steps outside - the joy of being surrounded by apple orchards! The frequent showers gave me the perfect excuse to retreat to my new greenhouse! Calendula seedlings were pricked out, chillies, potted on and tomatoes tied in with side shoots removed.

21 May 2016

Avian Crime Prevention

Mr Owl on guard.
No owl and no flowers!
Year after year birds have been stripping the flower buds from the Wisteria which grows up the south wall of the house. Sparrows are the biggest culprits closely followed by blue tits and great tits. Their gourmet feeding station is very close by so, last year just before the flower buds began to swell, we moved it to the north side of the house. It made no difference whatever and they completely scalped it. Now - as much as we love and care for our song birds, eating flower buds on the king of climbers is not easily tolerated!

This year we tried something new. After moving the feeding station away from the Wisteria, we installed a large plastic owl with a rotating head. Guess what! Loads of beautiful flowers near the owl and not a single flower the other side of the Jasmine from where the owl can't be seen. Moral: more plastic owls needed!!

19 May 2016

Mowing Hoeing Sowing!

Genever tomatoes & lettuces!
A newly trained 20 year old grapevine
It's the busiest time of year! I knew it!  Arctic to tropical overnight! The grass is growing a mile a minute, weeds are appearing everywhere and the world's coldest spring has meant very late sowing! Everything is happening at once and I haven't even mentioned how fast everything is growing in my new Queenhouse!  I think I can safely say that the grapevine has survived its 5 weeks sudden exposure to late frosts and as our Hartley Botanic Sales manager has now delivered the vine eyes, it's now draped elegantly along the Queenhouse roof.  He also delivered the staging which we have now installed. It looks fab and we await a further delivery of the correct staging base. It's a veritable plant palace!
Meanwhile the apple trees are in blossom and what a view we have!!

We look at 24000 of these beauties!

15 May 2016

May! The best month in the garden!

Tree Peonies ensure both impact...

Beneath an Acer Seiryu

I can't resist taking photos in May! It's such a perfect month - even with our wildly variable weather patterns! The surrounding apple blossom looks amazing but the 24000 trees in full bloom would! The Wisteria is in bloom and the perfume is to die for! The ferns are unfurling and I found my first 3 Smyrniums in the Woodland Border - yippee! Also, Brian came and painted the inside of the greenhouse.
More May Photos

...& attitude!
A quiet corner in the Herb Garden

14 May 2016

Kyle's Tiles (& others) Recycled Yet Again!!

A surprise return visit from Chris Genever for the day and loads of tiles were expertly laid in the new greenhouse and they look a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Of course he did have his trusty labourer, architect, advisor, helper, apprentice, photographer and assistant on site!! Deciding on the layout with such a mixed collection of sizes, patterns and colours wasn't straight forward but we made it! Also, working among so many plants wasn't ideal but huge progress was made.  Even a cucumber bed was made and, like the vine, the edges of which were done in original blue Staffordshire path edging tiles. Incidentally, I learnt today from the previous owners of PTC that the vine was probably planted in 1992/3. I'm also informed that it's likely to be a Muller-Thurgau which is interesting for its Swiss origins! I spotted the following information:

  • Müller-Thurgau is a white grape variety which was created by Hermann Müller from the Swiss Canton of Thurgau in 1882. It is a crossing of Riesling with Madeleine Royale. Wikipedia

Scientific nameVitis vinifera 'Muller-Thurgau'

12 May 2016

Rainy Day Boredom!

Chris's oak ferns
& a more primeval neighbour

Two days of rain and Chris is bored!  This is what he does when he's bored!! He makes beautifully sculpted oak ferns out of some unwanted oak rails. He's put them in the Fernery where the other ferns are unfurling rather more slowly. Chris, they look amazing. Thanks so much!

Witton Hill Bake Off - round V

Joan at work
Two smug bakers!

Two days of rain meant an opportunity to bake without the guilt of postponing garden work!  Joan did crumpets and a caraway seed cake and I made a rye and caraway loaf. Anything involving yeast takes ages so there was plenty of time for a cake while the crumpet batter was standing and the bread dough rising!  Joan's crumpets were a real joy and delight to cook and eat. The results were perfect in every way. We decided that oiled metal crumpet rings were far superior to the flexible silicone ones I had bought. Joan's cake was perfect in texture and flavour and, was also a fab bright yellow colour in contrast with the golden top.
Crumpets cooking on the Aga hob
Pefrect crumpets & even a heart shaped one for Ben!
As for my bead: very artisan in appearance but nevertheless, a great flavour and texture.  Another baking session success! More photos

8 May 2016

Nude, Rude & Lewd!

The Misses Pandora!

A day out at the local RHS Spring Festival at Malvern and we came home to find a couple of semi clad squatters near Thyme Square. The owner of this pair of shameless dames is of course Chris and they will be taking a holiday at PTC! They will each have their own niche in front of a cherry tree in the native mixed hedge which surrounds the vegetable plot where they do add a certain touch of elegance to the working part of the garden. Thanks Chris!

4 May 2016

Success against the odds!

Chris's gate
Woodland Border path
The 'Queenhouse!'
Despite the rain, biting winds and glacial weather conditions; hardy garden visitors refused to be deterred and rolled up for our weekend garden opening. To our utter amazement, we raised the grand total of £405.60.  I  had definitely not expected to raise even half that. Chris ensured the garden looked magical. He made a gate for our new fruit area and even carved out the name; 'Nutberry Noak' We have fruit (currants and raspberries etc), a hazel nut tree and the surrounding fence is made from reclaimed oak - hence the name! It looks wonderfully rustic. He also came back to light over a hundred night lights and place them around the garden. Isn't he a star? One visitor rang his wife and told her it was too magical to miss. He instructed her to wrap up warm then went back home to collect her and brought her back!!

Di & Pauline
As usual, we were very lucky to have a loyal team of helpers not only generously making and donating cakes but slaving away serving teas, washing up and leaving everything pristine.  A VERY BIG thank you to everyone and that includes Janine who helped with all the preparations!! Thank you also to all our visitors who ignored the weather to support a worthy cause!
More photos: HERE and Dave's Photos