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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22 May 2018

Fernery Fun!

Cordelia

In a shady area between the Top Lawn and the Woodland Border lies the Fernery under the watchful eye of Cordelia. Running through it is a narrow stepping stone path. At this time of year, all the inhabitants are unfurling their primeval fronds. Even the tree fern (now in the ground) has 8 healthy fronds!
Looking a tad sinister in the deeper shade!
There are quite a few different varieties and  battling to keep the ivy off them is proving hard work. It's a fine line between natural and out of control! There are even wooden varieties carved out of oak and a natty oak sign all courtesy of Chris.


Enjoying the dappled light.


Meanwhile, down in the greenhouse...!


...It's busy, BUSY, BUSY!
As it's been so cold, nothing too tender has been planted out and there's been a bit more of a backlog than usual as I try to move things out and into the cold frames for hardening off. This is the biggest greenhouse I've ever owned and it's full! Plants are everywhere. I can hardly walk from one end to the other! I can hardly reach over to open the windows as there is a double row of Chrysanthemums in pots alongside the tomatoes. Chrysanthemums are a first for me. I just fancied having a go at some spray varieties for cutting later in the year. Marrow and courgette plants are taking up acres of space with their spreading and prickly leaves. Lord Bute Regal Pelargoniums are displaying their usual colourful arrogance and these are always so thirsty! Having made it through the winter, Heliotropes are filling the air with their cherry-like fragrance. We also have trays of lettuce plants and a mini propagation area where  there are Geranium cuttings all in various stages of growth.  Zantedeschias are putting on lots of growth as are the Agapanthus and Gingers. I really MUST put some of these out before I'm overwhelmed!



20 May 2018

Project Pergola!

Weighing things up!
Standing tall!

For the past few Saturdays, we've been working on another garden project (no surprises there!)  We've been replacing the old pergola with some chestnut hop poles. The original 3"x3" pine was showing signs of rot and because they were shorter than is ideal, had also began to move and disturb the stones in the dry stone retaining wall. These hop poles are 9'x5" and are much deeper. Not only will the chestnut last MUCH longer but it also looks much more rustic. We even managed to cleave the braces and Chris very cleverly cut all sorts of difficult notches and angles which was super tricky on timber not square or straight! There was also an unauthorised photographer sneaking around the garden! Incidentally, we're standing on 'steppy-ups' which makes it look very low. In reality, we can walk beneath it!

Viewed from the top terrace.

Having cut down the Amandii clematis, I shall be much more strict with it in future. It will not be allowed it to scramble among the Wisteria again. Wisteria rules at PTC! 

Meanwhile, the other Chris was slaving away waging war on ivy and moving last year's compost from one bay to the other - both heavy and lumbering jobs. He finished off by cutting the Beech hedge before, we all called it a day and enjoyed well deserved drinks & dinner in the garden a l'Al!!

Viewed from the orchard

16 May 2018

Winter Survivor Thriving!!

Dicksonia antarctica thriving after its first winter in the ground!

The tree fern has not just survived its very first winter outdoors and in the ground but is looking really healthy. We planted it out early summer last year and watered it well all season. In late autumn we really wrapped it up well with underfelt, its own fronds, straw, an inverted pot tray (to keep water out of its crown) and finally the top layer: a coffee sack! 

It just became tooooooo heavy to keep lifting in and out of the greenhouse! In fact, it wasn't just a case of lifting in and out. Because of the huge spread of fronds it needed to be elevated so that space beneath could be utilised.

On trend tree fern winter wear!

14 May 2018

An Ocean of Pink Perfume!

A distant Woodbury Hill


Well, considering the spring we've had this year, the garden isn't looking too bad.  Even if it was, the apple blossom surrounding it makes up for any/everything.  It's a sea of pink perfume! It really is a perfect garden back drop and as for scent.....! I only wish I could bottle it!



View from our bedroom

7 May 2018

Fishy Newcomers!

Chris at work


Following a serious pond pump fail and all garden electrics being knocked out, a new one was ordered and Chris came and installed another replacement.  Now it's not easy working off a narrow ladder and the pump has to be installed in a plastic crate and weighted down with bricks which would easy to throw a chap off balance. Despite being ready with the camera, balance was maintained. 


Each item inside the crate had to be wired into its place to ensure there's no movement which might restrict the float switch. All went 'swimmingly' and  Chris then explained that an elderly acquaintance of his was seeking to re-home his fish. The upshot of this was Al arriving home yesterday afternoon with 7 (yes, 7!!) buckets full of fish!!  Suddenly the water in the pond was boiling with fish. Not having any knowledge of fish keeping, I wonder how our native pond fish will cope and if we should expect more visits from Monsieur Le 'Eron!

The weird thing about the newcomers was the fact that they kept swimming around in the most turbulent areas of water with some throwing themselves up on to the pebbled beach area then struggling to get themselves back in the water again!

4 May 2018

Save the Date!



Beating the Weather!

Cornus florida
Pieris forest flame
A recycled chair!

Cowslip (Primula veris) upstaging some  Purple Saxifrage



After the appalling spring weather we've suffered it's good to see a few things looking good in the garden. Actually, I'd say it's more a relief!!  It's definitely the year of the cowslip as our lanes are just carpeted in them and there has been much comment locally. The wild ones in the garden are no exception. A Pieris forest flame looks more like a raging inferno up on the top terrace even on a dull day!

In the Top Lawn Border, the Geums have really bulked up and spread out and make very pleasing underplanting for their arboreal neighbours as well as perfect weed suppressants!

It looks like the weather is actually warming up and maybe, just maybe, spring will be here to stay!
Geum tequila sunrise


3 May 2018

IMPONDERABLE!

Just as the pond is settling down following very recent major rock placements, intensive weed removal, replanting and some very serious titivating..............the pump gives up the ghost. BIG SIGH!!!!  

A new one (gulp!) is on order and will hopefully be installed on Saturday. Meanwhile, I'm consoling myself with the fact that the broken pump has lasted 4 years and 1 month and it it's run for 8 hours a day so maybe I shouldn't complain.  It's just very BAD timing!

Here we have Chris installing the now broken pump: Pond Pump Installation 2014  Much water under the jetty!!


Looking settled