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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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!

10 August 2018

Tenbury Wells Gardening Club

Members of Tenbury Wells Gardening Club

Wednesday 8th August saw another group visit to PTC garden, this time I remembered to take a photograph! Despite the welcomed cooler weather, the sun shone and their visit raised another £80.00 for the National Gardens Scheme charity. Thank goodness, we got home in time for me to mow and edge just before they all arrived!

Another result of this visit was the the enthusiasm shown by one couple who expressed a real interest to open their own garden for the National Garden Scheme next year. Let's hope it works out!

Thanks to one and all for your support and your kind comments.

5 August 2018

Thinning Miniature Giants!

Water lily struggles!
When the weather is seriously hot and sunny, it's always nice to find a cool job in the shade or, in this case water!  On this week's list was thinning out aquatic plants - namely the water lilies.  Some years ago I was given a miniature pink water lily.  Over time, it had taken over half the pond and almost the entire water surface was covered in plants or leaves of some sort.  Out came much of the Elodia crispa (which oxygenates the water) and watercress. Chris then donned on the waders! When he does that, he means business!

Striding out manfully into the pond, he approached the offending water lily and tried to scoop it up. The miniature water lily was now a giant and too heavy for even him to lift out. Instead he divided it into 3 sections and heaved out each one separately. It was a MONSTER of epic proportions. We replanted a single tiny piece and will be keeping a strict eye on its growth in future. Heaven knows why these plants are so expensive in garden centres. They grow like weeds!
Die!

Talking of which - we waged our continuing war on Bindweed (Convolvulus) by winding it all up, placing it in plastic bags and spraying it with a systemic weed killer. DEATH to Bindweed! The reality is, that over time, we have both won and lost Bindweed battles and this ongoing war has been fought for over 14 years. We fight on!

Meanwhile, Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea) is the only type of Convolvulus welcome in PTC garden! These were plants brought by Chris Genever and grow in a pot up a willow wigwam support and what a colour!

Now that's a Convolvulus!

24 July 2018

Vandalism in the Garden Tool Shed

The culprit!
Given the intensity of this prolonged heatwave; for the past few nights, I've been leaving the garden tool shed windows open. Imagine unlocking the door the other morning and finding cans of creosote overturned, axes, muck forks and brooms strewn over the floor.  Add excrement and chewed up straw to the scene and now guess what was getting in!  Well naturally one assumed that the culprit was gaining access via the open windows so after a major tidy up I thought nothing more about it until I was greeted with an identical scene 2 days later!  

Last night, I left the windows open a tiny fraction.  The gap was far too small for an animal capable of creating this much chaos to climb through. This morning, I was greeted by a similar scene of devastation!  Tools, straw and general vandalism everywhere. I cleaned up everything - AGAIN and this time took out the remaining straw stuffing it into an old compost sack.  Whilst dead heading nearby, I could have sworn that the bag containing the straw moved but  immediately realised that a welcome breeze had got up and probably responsible for any movement.  The weird thing was, I still had this feeling of some creature nearby.

This evening, I decided to have one last check and shook the bag violently. The straw was very slow to come out but did eventually fall onto the grass. Rolled up in a ball and falling out with the straw was a large and very hungry hedgehog!!

Image result for The adventures of doctor prickleback geoffrey higham
Who would have thought that a hedgehog could have caused so much wanton vandalism?? Anyway, after a hearty supper of dog food he went merrily on his way no worse for his adventures - reminding me of my favourite childhood story book: The Adventures of Doctor Prickleback by Geoffrey Higham.  

22 July 2018

Tolerating the Searing Heat!

Wing Commander Peckington-Wood D.F.C.!
Chris hard at work!
Despite the never ending heat wave, work has continued apace in the garden.  The Yew sofa and front Yew hedge has had its annual Pugh trim.  As shrubs have flowered, Chris has wielded heavy hedge cutters and reshaped them as well as keeping pace with the boundary hedges - no mean feat! Philadelphi, Choiysias, Spireas, Heathers, Roses have all enjoyed his touch and are looking very neat.  Watering is still pretty arduous but worthwhile.

Colour by the Tool Shed
We've had more garden visitors - this time from Cleobury Mortimer Horticultural Society.  Sadly, I forgot to take any photos but they were super friendly and very complimentary.

  Our latest acquisition, Wing Commander Peckington-Wood D.F.C. has taken up residence in a silver Birch (Betula utilis Jacquemontii) outside the kitchen window so we are enjoying the sun setting behind him and shining through his lovely colours. We now need to move his friend: Professor Yaffles - a glass green woodpecker so he too can be seen from the window with the light behind him!


Chris Genever's Zinnias along with Dahlias, Violias and Geraniums have provided a real shot of colour in front of the tool shed. Never having grown Zinnias before, they are highly commended! They even enjoy a good vase life.

9 July 2018

Beautiful Blackcurrants

3 years ago, Chris planted a currant (Ribes nigra) bush down in Nutberry Noak. There followed a fallow year when all bindweed was eradicated.  Yesterday, I picked our first ever crop of blackcurrants. This morning, it was a very early start to make jam and beat the heat. From just over 1lb of fruit, I made 3 jars and a little bit which was eaten for breakfast! It has a deliciously piquant flavour is very high in vitamin C and because of its high pectin content, is super easy to make. What's not to love?


3 July 2018

Busy, BUSY, BUSY!


As if a heatwave, hedge cutting and haymaking wasn't enough to cope with!  This week we 'ave bin mostly....

......'aving visitors!  

All in the name of the National Garden Scheme, we have hosted an afternoon garden birthday party and an evening visit by Menith Wood W.I.. 

All have included serving cold drinks, afternoon teas/coffees, cakes and for the W.I. - Prosecco too.  Very luckily, I have been helped out by Lindy and two Paulines who have rushed around serving and washing up. All of this has helped increase charitable garden fundraising to £1,401.50 so far! Well done team!!

1 July 2018

Fishy Business

Following a few pond problems resulting in the acquisition of a new pond pump back in May, Head Gardener and Chief Blogger failed to mention a sudden increase in pond life! A friend of Chris Genever's was seeking a new home for his fish. No one had accurate figures when it came to numbers of fish and I was only too happy to help out. Up until then we had only native fish in our pond - a few Rudd and a single Golden Tench. It came as a bit of a surprise when 7 buckets full to their brims with fish arrived! They took 3 or 4 days to settle in as to begin with, they kept throwing themselves out on to the pebbles. The entire surface was boiling with orange and white fish! A week later and all was calm and they all settled down.

In the intervening period, we have lost a total of 4 with a further 5 going to live in a much bigger pond at Paul's. The water appeared much muddier for a couple of weeks. The culprits were a pair of wild duck and we have found ourselves having to clean out the filter far more frequently which is a complete pain of a job due to its location - but, for now at least, things seem to have settled down. Fingers crossed!!


A Peeping Tom in the Garden!

We have a new figure in the garden. Meet Peeping Tom hiding in the conifer on the terrace.
A couple of years ago, one's husband's enthusiasm for having a fire in the chiminea went a little too far. With flames leaping high out of the top, the conifer suffered badly. The following day, the damage was immediately visible and, it being a lowly conifer, a resulting brown patch oval in shape became more and more obvious in an otherwise healthy green conifer! Yesterday, I trimmed out all the brown stems knowing that the result would be a large hole but I figured I could hang something in the hole and maybe turn it into a feature.

Peeping Tom hiding in the conifer & peeping out at Theresa on the Terrace!
It took Chris to come up with the perfect idea and he popped back home to bring Tom from his seemingly endless collection of classical statuary! Fitting him in took a lot of thought as we had to build a bridge over existing branches beneath the hole and secure a platform on which he could stand.  Probably not quite up to Genever exacting standards but we think it will work. When and if the hole in the conifer ever fills in, we can move Tom back on to his original plinth!

21 June 2018

High Winds and Hedge Trimming

A very neat Beech hedge!
Marjoram prior to trimming back
Time for more hedge trimming! This time the other side of the beech hedge that runs along one side of the drive. Clearing up the leaves in high winds was a pain! 
Chris also did the perimeter hedges. His policy is little and often so less disturbance and clearing up. Wise policy! While he was hedge trimming, Head Gardener was on her hands and knees removing dead Forget-me-nots filling the biggest wheelbarrow 3 times and bulking up the compost heap. I also trimmed the 3 Genever Box cones. Chris also strimmed all his edges and we both cut back the Golden Marjoram beneath the roses so that it will clump up again instead of flopping and falling apart. The funny thing is, more visitors enquire about that plant than any other in the garden. It does make useful underplanting for roses. 

Both colour & perfume on a dull day!
Talking of which; they have NOT enjoyed all these high winds! Poor things have really taken a battering. Even the old Albertine over the window which doesn't have any mildew this year (yet... and for the first time for AGES) and is looking at its best is in the teeth of the gale right now! These photos look so calm despite the fact that petals are being strewn throughout the entire county right now!