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!


2 December 2018

Shampooing and Rescuing Trees!!

The O'Leary Pieris
Head Gardener has been off duty for a week and has been exploring gardens in foreign parts!  This week, it was back to work as usual and first on the agenda was to rescue the O'Leary Pieris which blew over in high winds.  It was planted down in the Sofa Border and looks a treat.  It now has much more room and should really thrive. Sadly, the beautiful pot was beyond redemption - sigh!

Caught shampooing trees!

I got a lot of flack from Chris when he spotted me with a bucket of soapy water, brush in hand scrubbing the thick green algae off silver birches!  OK maybe I should get out more! As if I wasn't bad enough, he then gave them a blow dry with the leaf blower!  Shampoo and blow drying trees!! I ask you!!

Joking aside: at this time of year when the sun is low in the sky, they look absolutely dazzling now that they're free of all the green algae which had collected on the bark.  Worth doing as they're on full view when standing at the kitchen sink!! One is a Silver Queen and the other two are Jacquemontii's.  Well worth the trouble despite all the banter!!

Chris being just as bad!

12 November 2018

Two Gossips Arrive to Inspect Conifer Trimming!

The Two Gossips!
Distant Malvern Hills
We found these two loitering on the drive following a surprise sneaky delivery obviously under the cover of darkness on Friday!  Al's named them 'The Two Gossips' and, for now, they're gossiping over the old garden roller. They move to the Herb Garden - time will tell.

As well as the usual leaf clearing, Saturday's work included conifer trimming. Lugging leaves is somewhat never ending at this time of year but it's a nice job and hardly heavy work. The leaf mould pile is continuing to grow too!

Conifer trimming means ladders are needed. I know my place and am found holding them steady at the bottom with everything droping on me! This time, Chris took some sneaky shots from the top! When it was finished we were covered in bits of conifer but the hedge is looking awfully smart! Well done Chris!

Sneaky Chris!
Letting go to take the photo!

6 November 2018

Dahlia Mission.

Labelled and packed
Lifting tubers
Another lovely mild autumn day and a swapped day for a visit from Chris. Work started on cutting down, lifting and labelling the blackened and frosted Dahlias. We were both a picture of quiet efficiency! Chris used petrol to clean off ink from old labels - another clever Pugh recycling plan! New labels were written and tied on the stalks of each tuber.
Just 4 weeks earlier.
 The tubers were carefully lifted, soil removed and laid out in fruit trays and, after 'a certain amount' of re-organisation down in the 'General Stores', placed carefully in storage for winter.  In this garden, it's just too cold and wet to leave them in the ground and mulch over and prize winning Dahlias are worth looking after!! When you look at the photos, it's amazing what stunning blooms are produced by a few ugly old tubers!

All finished and looking tidy!
That being done, it was time to fork over the soil with some added bone meal and chicken pellets then plant out the other Chris's Sweet William plants before a sweep and tidy up. As we finished, the mist cleared and the sun came out.  It's now looking a-w-f-u-l-l-y smart down by the tool shed!

1 November 2018

Yew or Me?

Before trimming.
After trimming.

Once upon a time, there was a Yew tree. It stood on a corner very close to the greenhouse and behind the wooden throne. So close to the throne in fact, I had never been able to creosote the back of the panels touching the Yew. It was far too wide and took up lots of room. Basically, it had ideas above its station in life! Over the years we persevered with it, trimmed it into lots of different shapes but, whatever we did, it was just too wide at shoulder height  and a pain when brushing past with a full wheelbarrow on such a tight corner.

On Saturday Chris gave it its usual trim and then we just stood back and looked at it, looked at it again and then REALLY looked at it!  A trim just wasn't cutting it!! It was just to big and too much of a nuisance.  Out came the chainsaw. We were both thinking the same thing. Radical! Chris wondered if the Under Gardener should be consulted but, Head Gardener was pretty sure he wouldn't even notice.
After brashing.

Chief Gardener set to work wielding his chainsaw and removed all the side growth leaving just a bare trunk. In the trade, it's called brashing! The intention is to give it a new lease of life, as a Yew bollard (Chris's name!)  By which he meant, it will be allowed to grow in a much narrower and  more columnar habit with a much smaller diameter. The glory of Yew is that it will always green up.  No way could we have done this to a conifer!

True to form and, as clearing up was well under way, our Under Gardener came out to see what we were up to and then asked, 'What's missing?'

The following day was cold but sunny so, out came the creosote!

A very smart throne!

30 October 2018

Resurrected, Revived & Restored!

Standing proud!

Critically injured.
The black arm bands are off following the surprise of the century! Chris Genever has somehow managed to repair my faithful lawn mower!!  If you remember, the deck had rotted through so the front wheels became detached! Having replaced it with a brand new Honda lookalike, I offered the engine to Chris. Honda engines are just unbeatable and as there being nothing wrong with the old engine, it seemed a good idea to give it a good home!

Not only did he repair it but he smuggled it into the cart shed without saying a word!!! When Al was asking what I intended to do with so many mowers; nothing made sense until I went out and - to my disbelief: there it was!! Patching and welding all those curves - to say tedious has to be a complete understatement. He even sharpened the blade and cleaned it!! 

I have of course taken it for rather more that a test drive and the air flow has hugely improved - so much so, the grass box almost inflates! It honestly operates just like new! Who's a lucky girl?

Proudly showing his war wounds!

Thanks again Chris!
Now! Does anyone want a brand new Honda lawn mower used exactly twice!???!!????

26 October 2018

No Room at the Inn!

How have I managed to fill the greenhouse to capacity??? I lay all blame all those chrysanths. Despite never having grown any before, I am just loving their autumnal scent and filling the house with them. The trouble is, I can only just open the far door and I still have to find room for all the Agapanthus and more geraniums. With the help of a neighbour, we even managed to move the lemon into a corner and it weighed a TON! I have sworn never to lift it again! Still we're nearly there and then: Al had a brainwave!!!  Use the telephone box! Now why didn't I think of that?

Back to work!

"Winter Draws On!"

Leaves are falling really fast now as the temperatures are plummeting so ~ time to put on the tree fern's winter coat. Contrary to Monty, I cut off all the fronds and tie them round as extra insulation before adding a layer of horticultural blanket followed by a topping of straw, an upturned plastic pot saucer (to prevent water freezing in its crown) a shopping bag and lastly, a hessian coffee sack. Et voila!! Well it worked perfectly last winter in all the snow and ice! 

22 October 2018

Maintenance Jobs.

Mr. G. Woodpecker!

A Saturday without our usual Chris!  Lucky for us, the Chris G. came so different jobs were done. Most important was installing our green woodpecker on the summerhouse roof where he can now be seen from the kitchen window. Also as he faces west, we shall enjoy the sun behind him highlighting his colours.

Other maintenance jobs were done like adjusting the door to the cave, securing the canopy above the kitchen window and elevating the canopy above another window, freeing up the porch door, oiling hinges - all that sort of stuff. Not sure why I like it so much but I just DO!!

As ladders were put in place for painting, as soon as Brian had finished the following day,  I pruned the vine on the garage and over the garage canopy. It was such a great colour this year but had dropped all its leaves and in any case, I get into trouble for allowing it to hinder the free passage of cars !! Some people have other priorities!!  This was one we bought whilst visiting Highgrove a few years back. HRH had one growing up the front of the house and it certainly is a tough climber. It had pushed up behind the gettuering and the tendrils were as strong as metal springs!

Vitus cognetiae in all its autumn glory.
..and waiting for spring!

16 October 2018


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!