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!


12 May 2017

''If you can't stand the heat...............!''

Carolina reaper - the world's hottest chilli!

Although he always claims the greenhouse is not within his jurisdiction, there's evidence that Chris has been plotting (or should that be potting?) in the greenhouse. Further circumstantial evidence places Chris at a certain chilli festival at Eastnor Castle the weekend before the appearance of these additions - showing opportunity! 

In the past, I've grown Apache chillies (which feature about half way down the scale but they're not in the same league as these monsters. 

Even if we can't eat them, we do love his signs!

9 May 2017

Pear Hut - Shed of the Year Competition 2017

The Pear Hut Writing Room
The Pear Hut interior
Despite Head Gardener and Chief Blogger being a little indisposed of late, it hasn't stopped  the Pear Hut being paid a huge amount of attention!  Following its entry into the Shed of the Year Competition in 2014; the Pear Hut was spotted by a most charming Channel 4 TV programme researcher and, as a result, they  a film crew arrived at PTC.  Bearing in mind that we built the Pear Hut in 2012 and the competition is massive as loads of people all over the entire country build the most amazing edifices in their gardens so it's utterly surprising that our humble Pear Hut (More photos here) is even a consideration.  As if an entire film crew wasn't enough, the sponsors of the competition: Cuprinol also sent out their own photographer.  We actually used Cuprinol forest Green to paint the frieze round the top and the matching seat in front.  One thing's for sure, it was HUGE fun building it although hard to believe it was in 2012 that Chris Genever sacrificed quite a few Saturdays to head operations!  A BIG thank you to the entire film crew who, when I lost my wedding ring when one of our new flock escaped from the Henclosure and was loose in the garden.  All of the crew and their presenter were down on their hands and knees searching the garden! Luckily, it had come off my finger inside my jeans pocket and, all the time was safe and sound - phew!  Their concern and help was most appreciated!

How could this be a Pear Hut?
PS This is what it looked like when it arrived on the drive! 

Here's wishing our little Pear Hut lots of luck!

15 April 2017

Spring Sowing & Planting

Newly planted veg patch
Genever tomato plants

Busy week coming up and much to do in the vegetable patch.  3 rows of potatoes, broad beans, carrots, beetroot and onions all in now.  I decided to adopt a more agricultural approach and earth up after planting. It seemed to work quite well last year and there's less chance of damage from late frosts. We're still eating the rainbow chard.

Lots of lovely plants from Chris Genever so even more to do in the greenhouse.  Much moving around to in order to expose the tomato border which was used to stand Oleanders on over winter. It was then dug over and fresh potting medium mixed for the tomato plants. I use bottomless pots filled with a decent mix and was able to squeeze in 9 plants of different types and varieties. Some seeds were brought back from Australia and NZ, all germinated and pricked out by Chris so, it'll be interesting to see how they all do. Hopefully this year, we can keep the dreaded white fly at bay.

14 April 2017

Panic in the top Lawn Border!

Following the castastrophic loss of our much admired Persian Ironwood, we cleared out the top lawn border just leaving the Catalpa. This was unexpected and unforeseen but, as with all garden losses, we saw the opportunity for a new scheme and a shopping expedition to Frank P Matthews  a third generation run family business at Berrington just outside Tenbury whose propagation skills and expertise are of international repute. In fact, the grandson: Nick Dunn has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's highest honour, the Victorian Medal of Honour. They propagate and grow thousands of trees. 

As the border in question is more than just a tad tricky, I did serious research into which trees and shrubs can tolerate wet winter conditions and very dry soil conditions in summer. Together with Steve's patient help and expertise we are now the proud owners of:

    Amelanchier La Paloma
    Ekianthus campanulata
    Euonymous atlatus Compactus
    Magnolia Daphne
    Malus Admiration (Adirondeack)
    Pinis strobus Minima
    Viburnum opulus Roseum
    Viburnum plicatum Mariesii Great Star

It's a fab place to go and we're lucky to live so close. Now, this really is my kind of shopping! Even better than reclaim yards! We came home with so much, we had to arrange delivery.  No prizes for guessing what will be on this Saturday's jobs list after hedge trimming! It's our attempt to turn disaster into triumph so with open gardens in June, let hope things settle, establish and we have no more deaths!

10 April 2017

Flock Re-Stock

All looking very lost!
Easter Egger & Blacktail
We picked up our new Flock of Five on Friday evening.  We have 5 new hybrids: a Marigold, Blacktail, White Star, Copper Star and an Easter Egger! With fox fortifications well and truly established, we look forward to many happy days of egg laying! They are 16 weeks old and came from Sarah's at Newland Grange.  It's such a fabulous place and so clean and organised. We love it!

Having put our new girls in their polehouse to familiarise them with their new roosting quarters when we arrived home, I was up early to let them out and watch them have their first look at their new surroundings. Highly entertaining!  No one dared to fly down! One was gently lifted down and the rest followed spending the day timidly looking around.

As dusk fell, only the Copper Star flew up to roost without any help. The others flew up on the roof, the fence - everywhere looking for somewhere to spend the night. One even flew up and landed on me! Funny how, after all the specialised breeding and hybridisation, their instinct is always to look up high for somewhere safe to roost away from predators.  The following night all 5 found their way to bed! Such intelligent girls! Fresh water, oyster shell, grit and a hopper full of layers' pellets is all on hand and they are now enjoying exploring their new Bamboo garden and conservatory dining room and feeling much more at home! Soon, they will grow their combs and, in a few weeks, they should start laying.

Five Tails!

7 April 2017

Spring Sparkle!

Add caption
Fritillaria imperialis

With such a sunny warm start to April, the grass is greening up, wallflowers are blooming and tulips are positively dazzling. The magnolias are just passing their best but, we have a single Crown Imperial in flower and, imperial, it certainly is! The scent of blossom hangs heavy in the air. If only the weeds didn't know it was spring!

Cherry Blossom

4 April 2017

Olfactory Spring Treat

Sadly, you have to imagine the intense perfume from this clematis Armandii apple blossom. If only I could copy and paste the fragrance in a blog! A year after planting, I thought it had died here it is alive, kicking and a real show - any excuse to walk to the greenhouse and pause under the arch en route! So nice to have so much bloom and fragrance so early in the year. As it happens, I made loads of trips to the greenhouse as it was overdue for a clean up in order to make room for seed sowing.

2 April 2017

A Hidden Lakeland Gem

Both Head and Under Gardeners sneaked off to Scotland and the Outer Hebrides for a week and en route home called in at a friend's garden in the Lake District. Glenis and John have made the most magical naturalistic woodland garden in a uniquely secret setting outside Ulverston in Cunbria.  It's just packed with a fabulous collection of unusual plants, shrubs and trees all growing between mossy coated rocky outcrops. Seeing it in the pouring rain was somehow even more atmospheric in this green haven. There were wonderful Camelias, Rhododenrons, Snakes Head Fritilleries, Narcissus, Erythroniums - even Lewisias and Trilliums all dripping  in the spring rain. We're hoping that our treasured souveniers will thrive here at PTC! 

22 March 2017

Heart of Oak!

Chris and his creation

Check out Chris's latest amazing creations from ancient reclaimed oak fencing!! How lovely is this pair of tea light holders? This is such a marvellous idea as the pair can be moved around to suit any placing. He's left the original finish on the uncut sides which emphasises the grain on the satin smooth sanded sides and curves. Also, the heart shaped aperture can be back lit. It's the perfect idea and perfect design.  After all, hearts are never out of favour or fashion. Hopefully Chris can be persuaded to make lots and sell them at open gardens.