The green and rolling countryside of Worcestershire, England, is home to the cider apple orchards which surround the gardens of Pear Tree Cottage. They enjoy a sunny south westerly aspect with sweeping views across to Martley Hillside, Woodbury and 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!

This began in 2010 & follows the weekly ups and downs of garden work chronicling both successes and failures but, above all, demonstrates the fun enjoyed by three people who regularly garden in all weathers.

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15 February 2020

Dennis Stops Work!


Smart eh!?
Storm Dennis is raging around outside so the gardeners have retreated indoors.

We're in the throws of a major efficiency drive. Indoor work has included a wooden covered Garden Book - pyrographically decorated as you'd expect!  Its design even allows for the insertion of page refills.  It comes complete with its own book mark.  It can be hung up and even has a pocket on the inside back cover!!  The ply came courtesy of Chris Genever but it didn't respond well to a wash of green ink.  Use with muddy hands will soon sort that!  Anyway, it's a first attempt so, try to be impressed!  Gone are Saturday jobs lists on bits of paper which get lost often before full job completion.  We now have the Little Green Garden Book and..............that's not all!  


The Little Green Garden Book is born!
Meanwhile, in the Potting Shed, we've installed a whiteboard!!  A whiteboard was that Chris Pugh's idea!  Sometimes we spot a plant or shrub needs moving at a totally inappropriate time of year.
After waiting 6 months (or longer) it's often overlooked or forgotten and so the window of opportunity is firmly shut until another year has passed! From now on, such jobs will be written on the whiteboard!

Fullproof as long as we remember to look at it!!


The newly installed Potting Shed whiteboard

8 February 2020

NO Chris Saturday!



Chris is taking a well deserved spot of paternity leave since the arrival of Master Rupert David Thomas Pugh!!  We send him and Suzi our very warmest congratulations!

Grass all topped & looking smart!
I worked quietly on with a robin for company. Herod the Heron flew off earlier. I cut back dead Rudbeckias, Phlox, Japanese Anemones, Heleniums - in fact all the perennials I could find. Lugging wheelbarrows full down to the compost heap and bonfire and pausing to admire the Hellebores & snowdrops in the Woodland Border each time I passed.  Roses were pruned and, worst of all - Alchemilla Mollis!! Their soggy brown stalks are tough as old boots and always jam the secateur blades - sigh!




Meanwhile, our loyal Under Gardener ran the mower over all the lawns and topped the very long grass.  I did the verges and orchard path with the ride on.  The sun shone all day long & it was a super mild - bonus! Result at the end of the day: smugness!!

Following a severe reprimand from the other Chris for keeping my Pelargoniums too dry, I gave them all a VERY good soaking in readiness for the next inspection!




2 February 2020

Flowers in February.

Hellborus
Wild Euphorbia (Wood Spurge)
Elsewhere in the garden, there are pops of winter colour in the Woodland Border with Hellebores coming into flower, Snowdrops and also Bergenias.  Wild Euphorbias are also springing up adding their acid 

Bergenia
greens to good effect. 

Helleborus.
Cyclamen coum.


Under the old conifer and along the path, Chris's Cyclamen are a real show of pink.  This hardy little plant is the most trouble free and worthy garden plant.  It grows in dry and infertile situations beneath trees The leaves have a very striking marbling and unlike Narcissus just disappear when they die.  It might look delicate but  it's a tough little plant. It happily spreads and with both Coum and Hederifolium varieties, flowers are guaranteed in both spring and autumn. 

Beating Gales and High Winds!



All ready for a good mulch of homemade compost!

The Genever Acuba Japonica
We were so relieved to have a dry Saturday, we endured the gales and high winds thinking they would help dry out the saturated ground.  Undaunted I set to work in the Lower Border cutting down the soggy dead hardy geraniums, Sedums, Poppy's and Peonies.  All the photographs one sees in glossy garden magazines depicting pretty dead flower heads cloaked in a dusting of hoar frost doesn't live here! It was all a soggy brown mush.

I was joined by Chris who had been struggling with a giant climbing frame in mud!  With both of us working, we cleared the entire border weeded and forked it over and even trimming the shrubs!  We removed a Viburnum which had been ravaged by Viburnun Beetle and planted a Genever Acuba Japonica (Japanese Laurel).  We replaced some of the Viburnum but, it's under threat and will be removed if there are signs of further attacks.  The border was transformed and I actually wished I'd taken a 'before' photo and didn't as it all looked just too miserable.

This Lower Border (as it's known) retains a little winter interest and colour with some small clipped shrubs of differing coloured & variegated Euonymous, 3 (Genever) Box & an Osmanthus heterophyllus Goshiki (false holly).

The day ended helping our loyal Under Gardener with his bonfire and I was awarded the Bonfire Cap.  In the high winds - both men had failed to get it started!

As for drying the ground: it rained again over night!  Back to square one!

27 January 2020

SOAKED, SODDEN & SATURATED!

Before...
...and after!

Yet MORE rain!!  The entire garden is just saturated and still no opportunity for border work.  Working mostly from wet & slippery paths or tip toeing on lawn edges, we did manage to cut down dead/dying fern fronds and Hellebore leaves so at least the fernery looks tidy and the Snowdrops & Cyclamen can now be seen popping up.  The Hellebores too are just starting to bloom and new fern fronds could be seen curled up tightly and still sleeping!  We left them covered in case of frosts.  Later on we partly coppiced the Hazel and Chris did an absolute masterpiece on pruning a big old shrub rose.  Let's hope it dries up next week!!

19 January 2020

Head Gardener Goes Walkabaout!

Where does this lead?
Ardmaddy Castle.

Last week Head Gardener and her Under Gardener sneaked off to Scotland for a few days.  Yes, you guessed!  They found Ardmaddy Castle gardens again but this time by a completely freaky accident!!  January in Scotland probably wouldn't be everyone's idea of the ideal time for a visit.  We know that Scotland wouldn't be Scotland without its weather so are never put off.  In any case the sun came out and we thoroughly enjoyed having the entire garden to ourselves!  If you're ever this way, I thoroughly recommend a visit - http://www.ardmaddy.com/places-visit/

Impressive compost arrangements!
Worth stealing this idea!
I plan to make a scaled down version of the Alpine garden in an old stone sink that we have kicking about.  I liked the idea of the miniature slate scree.



14 January 2020

Rescuing Arums from Ravaging Holly!

The Holly Lolly.
Zantedeschia aethiopica
This is our Holly Lolly.  It used to reside by the side of the pond. Beneath it grew a large clump of Arum lilies.  Each year the Arums would grow up and flower and each year, we'd have some high winds and the prickles on the holly leaves would tear these almost unreal blooms to pieces.

Loving these waxy spathes of perfection
  


Enough was enough!  The Holly was put on the winter list of 'things to move'.  It actually looks much better in its new home by the hospital sign next to the Pear Hut.   
These natives of South Africa known as Zantedeschia aethiopica (quite a name) have such beautiful waxy blooms, they are totally worth protection from a mere Holly!  Actually, we have many wild Arums (Arum maculatum) in the garden and whilst some gardeners regard them as a bit of a pest, we really love them.  Anyway delightful names such as Lords & Ladies and Cuckoo Pint - who wouldn't?