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!


25 November 2016

November Down Under

I s'pose a Brit was always going to be wowed by anything that flowers in November so, true to form, here's one enjoying Rhododendrons and Azaleas in Hanmer Springs New Zealand just south of the earthquake affected area.  These colourful Rhodies had just enjoyed a light shower of rain before the sun came out and it was just like a UK spring day in May!!

Photos don't do justice to the height of the trees in this picturesque little spa town with its myriad of natural hot springs.

Hanmer Springs main street!

Peonies & Yuccas in flower

16 November 2016

Kiwi Wisdom?

Excerpt from Kiwi Gardener

Saw this interesting quote in a gardening magazine in a cafe in Rotorua. I often use Bay in soups, stews, casseroles and sauces but didn't know it had magical properties!! (And, yes I did spot the spelling mistake!)

12 November 2016

Autumn to Spring in 24 Hours!

A natural forest of tree ferns
Roses in November

A bad picture of a swarm of bees
Unusually, this is a post about gardening down under. Here in New Zealand - just a few miles away from PTC, we are wowed about what thrives here.  Just growing wild on the roadside verges are Arums, Nasturtiums, Impatiens, Daturas - to name but a few. At the botanical gardens in Auckland are masses of roses all in full bloom with not so much of a hint of black spot, mildew or rust!  Even a Wisteria is blooming in November - I ask you!!It's just not fair! As for tree ferns - they abound e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e!! Huge natural forests full of them. The other weird thing is the fact that it's spring here. It was autumn when I left home and I left all the trees dropping their leaves.

Datura alias Brugmansia candida on the roadside!

Here, we even saw bees swarming

2 November 2016

Tulip Tree = Pure Gold

Woodberry Hill
Liriodendron Tulipifera
PTC & a gilded lawn!

Not much one can say about this post except, if there's room, this is a tree and a half!  Our garden is not big enough for this beast and already it has been pollarded. See Rabbits Outfoxed for the full story of this particular tree

31 October 2016

Growing Gold!

Crocus sativus - saffron crocus

As weird as it sounds, I harvested my very first saffron stigmas! So far only 3 as only one flower has opened. However: this is the world's most expensive spice and gram for gram  more expensive than gold.

In 2014, a single gram, (that’s 0.035 of an ounce) of this sought-after spice was selling for up to £75, making saffron more expensive than gold.  The reason for this is the fact that each flower has only 3 stigmas and harvesting these precious stigmas is so laborious.  Strange that we eat this crocus when the corms, seeds and leaves of the Autumn crocus (colchicum) are deadly poisonous.

With only 6 corms, somehow I don't think I'm going to be an overnight millionaire! However, I might have enough for a very small dish of saffron potatoes!

                                                                                                 Anyone for dinner?

More Autumn Colour

Too many colours to show in one post so, here's a collage. More photos can be seen here: And then the sun came out! I figured we need to make the best of some sunshine when autumn can be so dark and dank!

And then the mists lifted & the sun came out!

Back to Brassicas

January King
Bold Brassicas

Whilst other trees and plants are dazzling us with their colourful leaves, things in the vegetable patch are look a tad more somber! It would be more than a little worrying if the brassicas turned orange or red. Having said that, the chard is looking pretty colourful even though the cabbages remain merely green! We have January King's, Hispi's and some Purple Sprouting. They do get full marks for clinging on to water droplets! Chris gave us a rather agricultural bird scarer which spins round. Hopefully it'll deter thieving pigeons!

Dewy droplets
Pigeon prevention!

Glowing & Growing in the Gloom!

Euonymous europaeus - Spin

Liriodenron tulipifera - Tulip Tree

On definitely the darkest, dampest, dankest day we've had this October, the leaf colour in and around the garden is really striking. It didn't seem ever properly light today and yet despite a complete absence of sunshine the trees appeared to glow in the gloom. The Acers in pots by the chimney have few leaves left whilst elsewhere in the garden, they positively gleam with colour. I know it means lots of work clearing them all up but with colour like this - who cares? At their best now is the Tulip tree and Spindleberries with the cherries and the birches close behind.
An HDR shot of the Lower Lawn (Tulip Tree left & Spindleberry 2nd right)

26 October 2016

Breaking News!


Despite the untimely death of our organiser: Alan Green, we're excited and pleased to announce that The Gardens of Wichenford will hold their open weekend on 24th & 25th June 2017.  We had our very first meeting last night and raised a glass to Alan. Obviously it can't be exactly the same format and it's very early days but the decision has been made and the dates decided upon! Keep an eye out here: Wichenford Open Gardens   We are also delighted to announce that Chris has  elicited an agreement from the chairman of the South Worcestershire Bonsai Society to hold another bonsai exhibition here at Pear Tree Cottage!

Last time, not only did they put on an amazingly professional exhibition but they also gave demonstrations and master classes in their fascinating discipline. It was a huge hit and everyone was stunned by the high standard of their exquisite exhibits! They warmly invite new members to join their club. For more details, contact:

               Malcolm Styles
Tel No:01905 455351
Venue:Claines British Legion,Cornmeadow Lane, Worcester
Day:second Tuesday 7.30pm

24 October 2016

The Story of Mrs. Slingsby's Walnut Tree & Chris's Missing Nuts!

Chris's nuts (Ahem!)
A perfect walnut!

More than holding its own above the hedge line

Mrs. Slingsby's Walnut now 9 years old!
Nine years ago, Chris brought a self set walnut tree from the late Mrs' Slingby's garden and planted it in the hedge line behind the tool shed. For a number of years it was jealously guarded and prevented from being overgrown by hedging plants in its baby years. For the very first time last year, it bore fruit. We were away when the nuts were ripe. Chris picked all 5 and even sent us photographs whilst we were in Moab having breakfast! When we returned Chris ceremoniously presented us with our very first 5 walnuts from our 8 year old tree! The following day and without even thinking Al cracked them all and he and I shared them between us without a thought for poor Chris! For a whole year we weren't allowed to forget for a single moment this gross and thoughtless oversight!

This year, he wasn't going to miss out. For months Chris kept a VERY strict eye on the now 6 walnuts growing - hoping that they weren't going to be found by grey squirrels or us! Every Saturday Chris checked and, more importantly counted the six walnuts.
This Saturday, he checked their status and, quelle horreur! Three were missing! We searched around on the ground beneath and to my relief found the remaining 3 - phew! After all work was finished, they were carefully shared out - 2 each. The most perfect and delicious walnuts in the world!! I reckon for such a young tree to bear fruit after 8 years is pretty good going. Hopefully, we're now forgiven for last year's oversight and our special tree will go on to bear more bountiful yields!