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!


19 February 2018

Blooming Update!

A few cheery photos of flowers in bloom in February.  Somehow, I don't think they need any introduction.  It's just such a pleasure to see them - especially on the darkest dreariest days. Still, the day's are getting a little longer as it's noticeably lighter in the mornings and evenings and that means a promise of more to come!!

15 February 2018

Thursday turned into Saturday!

... and after fern clearance.
A surprisingly sunny dry day for an entire day's garden work!  The last 4 Saturdays have either been glacial or glacial and wet! today, we were able to get on with jobs is reasonable comfort. After sorting out a log avalanche, the first job was barrowing some wood chip (kindly brought by Chris) down to Nutberry Noak and the Woodland Border path.  Next up: Fernery clearance with all last year's fronds removed. Not exactly a five minute job but rewarding and their dead and dying fronds lay flat and straggly hiding Cyclamen, Hellebores and Snowdrops alike. 

I left this job a little too late last year and it was difficult removing the dead fronds with new ones emerging and unfurling. It looked really tidy when we'd finished. We moved 4 or 5 ferns down to the lower border before moving on to emptying the compost bay. Well, I have to confess that I rather left that to Chris as it was so wet and heavy - especially after all the rain we've had. Instead, I carried on deadheading borders and filled another 3 barrows with much lighter loads while Chris mulched hedges, borders, back filled new path edges until it was too dark to carry on...........drinkies time!

13 February 2018

12 February 2018

Busy Busy!

Remaining Hazel and catkins.

A slightly warmer but still damp and overcast Saturday saw Chris finishing the fence repairs with new rabbit wire which he's dug in. Initially, we planned to use the original wire netting - hence this being stapled to the outside!  It was on to the lower border to coppice the Hazel. We left 3 leaders meaning that there will be lots of home-produced pea sticks and sweet pea supports. Shrub roses were pruned, Lilac suckers removed and Sedums and Michaelmas daises deadheaded. In other words, a good old clear out and tidy up. We'll probably coppice again in 3 - 5 years time

Coppiced Hazel stool.

Bindweed -free Zone!
Time to move along to Nutberry Noak - our little overspill fruit and veg patch which has lain fallow for a year whilst weapons of mass destruction were being released on a epic Bindweed epidemic! We have a cob nut, some currants and a gooseberry.  Sadly, Bindweed choked everything hence our eradication mission.

The beds were  dug over and what remained of the Bindweed carefully removed. Luckily, there wasn't too much. Old raspberry canes were removed and a mulch of home made compost dug in before new raspberry canes (Autumn Bliss) planted. Hopefully we'll be growing marrows and courgettes down here later in the year. 

All in all, a pretty productive day!

6 February 2018

Egg Champions of PTC

It's so tricky getting a shot of all five girls but, here they all are in some rare but freezing winter sunshine! 
106 eggs last month!!

Wilhelmina, Beatrice, Tosca, Esmerelda & Marigold
Now it's dark, miserable and sleeting & they've all gone in to roost.

4 February 2018

Worst Weather Work!

The replacement fence......... in sunshine!
Little wonder we Brits bang on about the weather.  Friday was perfectly springlike, but as for yesterday.....! The temperatures had plummeted and the driving drizzle, low cloud and freezing mist and mizzle made fencing repairs a total misery despite, 3 pairs of socks, 3 jackets, waterproof over trousers and thick winter weight gloves. My hands were painfully cold. Work didn't go very well as our replacement posts turned out to be totally unsound. I was all for calling a halt to proceedings until Chris pointed out that he had some new (and far superior) posts going begging. He kindly went to collect them and work progressed .........slowly. Working in a thorny hedge, in amongst barbed wire, briars and  wire netting was an absolute pain! We couldn't evenly space the posts because of the Hawthorn trees and their roots made digging post holes even more difficult.

Finishing touches waiting for next week

What should have taken an hour and a half took ALL afternoon. At 4pm, numb with cold and after 2 (medicinal) cherry brandies and 5 minutes draped over the Aga, it was back to work. Within no time, it was too dark to see what we were doing.

Achingly cold!

Time to call it a day and have a bonfire in the wind and drizzle. We eventually went inside at 7:30pm. Sometimes I really wonder why I like garden work!!

2 February 2018

Where there's a wall, there's a way!

Chris's wall behind the garage with its row of little black witches' hats is looking so good, we trimmed the hedge behind it sloping it back to allow in more light. I'm hoping that if Chris reads this post, he won't ask why we didn't do it beforehand and make his job much easier! We love the piers at each end of the wall but, most importantly is the curve which means that the path is wider and there'll be no more scraped knuckles when wheeling barrows past the dreaded metal boiler vent! Dave has placed in wiring ready for lighting so when we're lugging barrows full of logs, we'll even be able to see where we're going - BONUS!! When we first moved here, there was no path as it completely obstructed by overgrown hedge against the wall. 

Woodland Awakenings

A rare mild sunny day and I couldn't wait to get to work in the Woodland Border. There I found Aconites, Snowdrops, Pulmonarias and Hellebores all showing their faces. Last year's fronds were cut down and all Hellebore leaves removed. That revealed a Speedwell invasion had taken place so a bit more work there too. Having filled 3 wheelbarrows, I decided to resort to blowing all the dead leaves to the back of the border under the hedge where they can rot down and feed the hedge.

Worth Crowing About!

Going in to lay.

Despite the lack of daylight in one of the darkest months of winter and the cold weather, our little flock of five have really eggcelled themselves by laying 106 eggs this month! Given that their lives are pretty much ruled by daylight; that's pretty amazing - especially as Esmerelda (layer of pale blue eggs) decided to moult before Christmas! Not forgetting the egg success back in September last year when their eggs won first prize in a heavily contested competition!
This morning's  collection.

Their first 1st!

Our girls continue to enjoy a very varied diet with layers' mash for breakfast, fresh green leaves and mixed corn. Depending on the weather, they also have treats of cooked rice, fresh fruit and even spaghetti. They also enjoy the fresh bamboo leaves from the clumps grown for summer shade. We always keep plenty of fresh dry wood chip in their 'Henclosure' rather than leave them to scratch around in cold wet mud over winter. With 106 eggs in the month of January, we must be getting something right!!

29 January 2018

Beating the rain!

...& tamed!
Vitis cognetiae - untamed...
The weather wasn't much better this Saturday but we were determined not to be beaten twice. Vine pruning continued as Chris Genever had made some rather natty little hooks and fitted them beneath and between the tiles so it now has something secure to hang on to and Al can drive cars out of the garage without getting hung up on my vine! Well it was a bit much!
New Dahlia border
Much needed was a pretty major clear up following all the work that has been happening at PTC over the past 3 months. Hedges in the creosote Yard and behind the new brick wall were cut back and new Dahlia Border filled with compost. Now, I can't wait to plant out this year's Dahlias!