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 2017

Major Logging Session

Chris at work
Ian's hydraulic log splitter
With 6 tons of ash tree on the drive, there wasn't any time at all for any gardening this Saturday! Al had lugged and stacked 12 wheelbarrows full of the smaller logs so it was out with the axes and chainsaw to split the rest. Chris and I made a start with him using the heavier splitting axe. 
The pile just got bigger and bigger!

Hopes were raised when Ian arrived on a tractor with a hydraulic log splitter. However, all hopes were soon dashed when we discovered that the hydraulic fluid level was zero.  It was back to the tool shed to search out a little used third axe! In fact, it was a small one which had never been used here before. At first the log pile grew even bigger and, having split the easier straight grained logs, I changed jobs to loading, lugging and stacking. As is usual at PTC, everyone mucked in and gradually the pile on the drive grew smaller and the stacked logs in the log stores, bigger. It's really one of those 'squirrel' jobs - storing fuel for winter. All ready for long and cosy candlelit winter's evenings and roasting chestnuts on the wood burner.

By 5 o'clock it was all finished and the drive swept and cleared! Time for beers (and gin!) 

More logs are now awaited to fill the remaining spaces! Thanks Chris & Ian for all your hard work!


10 August 2017

At last! Channel 4 - Shed of the Year 2017 Broadcast Details!

The wait is over!  Thank you for your patience in hearing back about a transmission date for ‘Shed of the Year’.   Plum Productions is pleased to confirm that it will be going out on channel 4 from Sunday 20th August.   The order of the programmes is as follows:

  • Ep 1 – Cabins and Summerhouses/ Not a Shed?
  • Ep 2 – Pubs and Entertainment/ Unexpected
  • Ep 3 – Historic/ Workshops and Studios
  • Ep 4 – Budget/ Eco

The Pear Hut is in the budget category!



    The Pear Hut Writing Room


2 August 2017

Eggceeding All Eggspectations!

The girls worked very hard indeed last month as we had a new record in both egg production and egg sales. A total of 144 eggs were laid in the month of July by five hens. That's an average of nearly 29 each. As we have 5 different hybrids, we enjoy very varied egg colours which range between dark brown and white with a couple of shades of cream in between. However, Esmerelda lays the smallest palest blue eggs! 

Left to right: Tosca, Esmerelda, Wilhelmina, Beatrice & Marigold.

Eggs sales totalled a record £20.00.  With the money raised from sales we buy their layers mash and pellets as well as their mixed corn. They enjoy a very varied diet of fruit, green vegetables and once a week, at this time of year, they have a box of grass clippings to scratch around in.  Every so often, they are allowed out of their own bamboo 'Henclosure' for a general slug patrol around the garden.  For reasons of safety, they have to live behind fox-proof fencing.

24 July 2017

Hay Making Pear Tree Cottage Style!

Drying in the sun
The girls approving their nest box material!
We have been really lucky this year as Rob and Sally-Ann gave up precious time to cut our very small patch of meadow grass. It's the same old problem for us: cutting a small area of long grass to use for hay. Rather than the big expense of hiring an Allen scythe which would only be used for 20 minutes, Rob and Sally-Ann used hedge cutters - not an easy job to cut grass and leave it in swathes. Unconventional maybe but effective and now we need some dry and sunny weather.

The girls came out on slug patrol and gave it their stamp of approval which is just as well as we use it in their nest boxes!  Thanks very much Rob and Sally-Ann!!  Oh, and I should also say that it smells fabulous as it dries in the sun.

Earwig Traps





"This week I 'ave bin mostly..."



........making earwig traps and placing them in our Dahlia border! It's such a shame to see half eaten flowers.

Theft of Moss

 


Here's a picture of our antique armillary sundial with its beautiful mossy surface.




Here's another and more recent photograph depicting missing moss.


Just how awful does that look? At first we thought it had been stolen by birds for nest building (which would have been tricky to prove!) but whilst being interviewed, a certain Under Gardener coughed under interrogation! Was it theft or was it criminal damage? There were excuses - of course but none that could possibly cut any ice or stand up in court. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse." Everyone KNOWS that any kind of antique garden statuary is always admired for the lichens and mosses that grow on them or, so we thought! We HATE the bleached appearance of modern sculptures and take time and trouble to positively encourage mosses and lichens to grow as quickly as possible. Painting on the well known recipe of yogurt, cow manure and sour milk aids their growth and is therefore much practised.

As a guilty plea has been recorded, the defendant has been bound over to keep the peace under section 1 (7) of the Justices of the Peace Act 1968. Our Under Gardener has had the errors of his ways pointed out - hopefully ensuring that there will be no future misdemeanours and certainly no further incidents involving illegal moss removal!!

The Luxury of an Old Sink.

Earth to plate in half an hour & no mess!
Scarlet Globes, Arran Pilots, Autumn Kings & Pantheons
Freshly washed & prepared.

A few years ago, we installed a very old (and pretty beat up) second hand sink by the back door tap. It didn't look up to much at the time and, indeed doesn't now. However, it's been worth its weight in gold - especially at this time of year. Root vegetables from the vegetable garden are lifted and placed immediately in the old sink where all the soil is washed off and preparation completed. No mess in the house whatsoever. 
The edges of sink are all chipped and it's really nothing to look at but it's so useful - not just for vegetables but also for cleaning out poultry troughs and drinkers. A piece of hose on the tap means that the sink can be swilled clean so easily. With a compost bucket nearby for the waste and carrot tops for the chickens everything is recycled - one way or another! We really wouldn't be without it and couldn't recommend installing one enough.


19 July 2017

WE DID IT!!!







This was way more than expected & certainly more than we dared hope for. Our beneficiaries include St. Richard's Hospice, Marie Curie, The Nora Parsons Day Centre, Wichenford Church & Memorial Hall and the Ladybird Trust. Once again - heartfelt thanks to all who made donations especially those who helped & laboured away behind the scenes. Give yourselves a BIG pat on the back & enjoy a well deserved rest! 

A more personal thank you goes to the team who helped at Pear Tree Cottage. You know who you are and we couldn't have done it without your generosity of spirit!

       

13 July 2017

Flavours & Fruits + Fragrance & Flowers - all in one greenhouse!





This week and on one side of the greenhouse, Jasmines and Heliotropes are providing the scent whilst zonal Pelargoniums come up with the colour! It's a pleasure to walk into the greenhouse just to sniff the perfume in the air.

Meanwhile on the other side of the path, we have edibles in the form or tomatoes. The Tigerellas are just beginning to colour up whilst overhead, the grapes are swelling and ripening.  If only I could speed up the ripening process!

Now - just why is one label out of place?

Jasminum Sambac