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!

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16 October 2018

STORM SURVIVAL!

WELL! Storm Callum certainly blew away a few cobwebs and left previously tidy lawns covered in a thick layer of leaves and twigs. The sort of fall out that's easy to cope with! Furthermore, I was able to take my new replacement lawn mower for a test drive. Not so keen on an automatic choke but, that aside, it's perfectly adequate. With the torrential rain, not much other gardening has been feasible. However the leaf colour changes are definitely to be admired and I rather like this shot of the tulip tree.


Liriodendron tulipifera

The Acers in pots by the chimney are a real blaze of colour and the reflected light glows red on the stairs in the morning. The Walnut and Fig trees are a lovely buttery yellow. The Spindlewood is always a fab crimson and it was a real treat to be greeted by a pair of thrushes for 2 mornings sitting on top of the conifer. I'm hoping they both make it through the winter.  

Colour changes
Autumn visitors


9 October 2018

Successes & Sorrows!

Following last Saturday's major tidy up prior to the arrival of foreign house guests, head gardener has been taking time off to show them around. We did make the Malvern Autumn Show - the like of which our friends had never seen before. The World Champion Vegetables were on display. For them - one word. BIG!
A last minute decision was made to have a go at at exhibiting a few bit and pieces in the ladies' section at Trumpet Ploughing Match. The afternoon before was spent scavenging in the garden for a few exhibits, printing some photos and what a surprise! We came home with 2 cups and quite a few prize cards! 9 to be exact with another accidentally left behind! We scooped the cut flower trophy and were joint winners for the photography cup. The pom pom dahlia tubers given by Chris Genever grew 3 blooms which won a 3rd!



Meanwhile: very sad news! My loyal and  trusty lawn mower died this afternoon! The deck rotted through and the front wheels just fell off whilst actually mowing! 13 years of loyal service and starting reliably - it's the end of an era and black arm bands for me! 

21 September 2018

As Autumn Steals Summer!



Before the storms.

The signs in the garden are: things are beginning to slow down and there's more than a hint of autumn. The usual seasonal jobs get done but somehow, there's less pressure. Before the recent spate of high winds, squalls and heavy rain, we had some wonderful sunny, still and almost silent days. Nothing stirred and colours just glowed. Dahlias, Zinnias, Rudbeckias, Echinaceas and Chrysanthemums have all provided their late bursts of colour but are now pretty battered by these high winds. The lawns are covered in leaves and debris with more stormy weather expected.

Hedychium gardnerianum
As the tomatoes were all picked and their framework removed from the greenhouse, I was able to move the Chrysanths in out of the the gales. They have provided the house with lots of cut flowers and all with excellent vase life.  The gingers (Hedychium gardnerianum) have provided a great show this year with record numbers of blooms and spectacular perfume. Worth a trip to the greenhouse just to inhale their perfume! The apples in the surrounding orchards are being harvested and the leaves are beginning to turn. As the days grow shorter and the evening lengthen, we look forward to cosy evenings scanning bulb catalogues and planting for colour and scent next spring!

Sheltered from the storms.
Definitely autumnal!

2 September 2018

Let there be LIGHT!

Keeping the dining room cool during the summer heatwave
Feeling like a jungle
Time to prune the Wisteria and free up the window frames for painting as well as allowing more light in now (dare I say?) the days are getting shorter. Some of the whippy side shoots were miles long. It's during the big summer prune when we're reminded what a beast our favourite King of Climbers really is! I think we took 5 barrows full of Wisteria down to the compost heap! Another job before winter rains was to free up a drain by digging out a ditch which really wants grading but at least it's free running now - or will be! Last job of the day was to hang a really elegant teapot in the teapot tree - it's actually an Acer griseum. Sadly the teapot lid was broken but, should we find a replacement, it will be pressed back into use.

All clear ready for painting!

30 August 2018

Situation Normal?


Well, we're getting back to normal or, whatever counts as normal for PTC.  Having done a bit of a harvest yesterday, it was drying the Apache chillies, eating the runner beans (which were a tad older than ideal - so much happening before open gardens was to blame!) as well as making another 7 pints of soup with the tomatoes. I found that the Di Bolsa are really excellent as this variety has far fewer seeds and plenty of flesh. Just what's needed for soup!




Mowing and deadheading took on a much more relaxed approach as did hoeing the veg patch. There was even time to take a few photos of the Chrysanthemums. I've never grown them before and I just love their autumnal scent. It actually is getting more like autumn with days noticeably shorter and very dewy mornings - say no more!!

Soggy Twilight Garden Opening!

Brave visitors sheltering from the rain!
End of a successful day.
Following all the dire weather forecasts for a cold and wet Bank Holiday Sunday, we feared no visitors at all.  We needn't have worried as 42 hardy souls braved the elements and turned out.  Chris had helped do an amazing jobs on extra lights and on a rainy Sunday morning appeared with eyes for Colin the Caterpiller!!  When dusk fell, the rain stopped but it was still very cold and breezy. Alas no candles out in the open but Chris ensured they illuminated the windows of the General Sores, the Pear Hut, the Tool Shed, Potting Shed, Studio and greenhouse. He lit all lanterns and that together with Dave's earlier garden light MOT meant that the garden looked really pretty.  If anything with the wet surfaces, there was more reflection!
Chris illuminates the old chimney.

Our loyal band of helpers weren't going to let the weather put them off either. They donned on their aprons and got to work. We were even able to run 2 shuttle buses thanks to Malc Wilkes (no relation to Lyn!) and Dave Evans. We thank them all very much. This 2 car system worked brilliantly.

A special vote of thanks goes to our waitresses, washers up and cake bakers who were Lyn Wilkes, Lyn Glaze, Lindy Hobbs, Di Evans, Pat Finch, Dianne Ratcliff, Cathy Anstey, Maureen Androlia & Sandra Kelley. We also thank all our neighbours whose offers of help with regard to parking make it possible in the first place!  You know who you all are! We couldn't do it without the help of friends and neighbours!

Having done all the sums, we then opened the donations tin only  to find another £102.04.  This pushed our total for the day up to £407.74!! Now considering the awful weather, THAT is truly amazing!!  


Well done team!!

A very special thank you goes to Ian Foster who turned out late that night and rescued four of our visitors whose car became stuck in a ditch at the bottom of the lane.  He arrived just minutes after a call for help.  What a star!! We hope he was suitably rewarded by the driver.

25 August 2018

Final Garden Preparations!


 

Following a frenzied few days of garden work, all is ready for tomorrow's Twilight Garden by Candlelight tomorrow event despite the appalling weather forecast!! Edging every border and lawn edge with a half moon edging tool and long handled edging shears proved quite a marathon! Chris came today and we put up extra lights around the conservatory even Colin the Caterpiller had a hair cut and a set of lights! The Bay tree has lights and Chris also sneaked a set beneath the verandah on the tool shed! Dave came yesterday and fixed lights, swapped bulbs and generally gave them a ll a bit of a MOT.
It poured with rain as we trimmed the Yew topiary - sigh! Bits of trimmed Yew stuck everywhere so clearing up was even more major than usual! Chris strimmed and trimmed and then whizzed round the outside hedges. I did all the verges and picked up the trimmings. We eventually came in at 8pm - yawn!  I don't think the weather will allow us to light many candles but the garden has never looked tidier and the lights look really pretty. More photos here: PTC Garden by Night


20 August 2018

Jammy or what?

Weighing the crop!


Chris enjoying his mulberry jam!
How could I not write a quick post on this? A couple of weeks ago, Chris rolled up with a basket of the most glorious freshly picked mulberries. We could hardly believe our eyes! They were crying out to made into the world's most delicious jam. \having done that, I knew it the next step had to be a baking session in order to achieve the very best cream tea ever. Using my favourite Mary Berry recipe, I made the lightest scones. That only left the easy bits - some authentic Cornish clotted cream and a pot of Lady Grey tea.


The finished product all sealed and labelled.
 

Now THAT's a cream tea!!

Et voila!  2 whole jars have been consumed already - gulp!

19 August 2018

Well and truly in the soup

Genever tomatoes ripening
Newly pruned vine
With next Sunday's Twilight Garden by Candlelight looming worryingly close, work started early - in the greenhouse. The grape vine suffered serious mildew in such a dry season and, as it's only grown for shade, I decided to give it an early prune. It was a fairly major task with my new and extra stable steps on duty as the apex is really quite high. There were mountains of prunings to clear up but hopefully the extra light will help ripen the still green tomatoes. Talking of which, they have been cropping really well and I've made 10 pints of delicious tomato soup already. Served with fresh basil from the Herb Garden it's taken a cast iron will to freeze batches and not just eat it all straight away! These are the tomato plants grown from seed by Chris Genever. Many are large Italian varieties which are ideal for cooking and really full of flavour.

Homemade tomato soup with basil & crouton pockets.




13 August 2018

Conifer Owls in the Making!

Owl beginnings.

Despite the much needed rain, it would have been so much more convenient if it hadn't decided to pour down on Saturday afternoon. After tidying up a little corner border by the Yew hedge and taking out a Lonicera fragrantissima, Chris forked it all over and I found a few plants - namely some Irises, a Penstemon and some Filipendula ulmaria which I grew from seed last Autumn. The herb garden also had a thorough tidy up and another Sage & Rosemary were planted.
Ear inspection.


Afterwards, Chris set about trimming the conifer down by the compost heap and making it into an owl!! The nearby totem pole had a coat of creosote and then it began to rain really heavily and looking up all the time meant a face full of water and the bonfire was a bit of a failure. As it was the first owl cut, it'll take a couple of years to shape up but beginnings can be seen.

The heavy rain meant an unusually early finish for us!!


Making owl ears!