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


2 March 2021

Pinch Punch 1st of the Month!

Both garden and gardeners have been enjoying the recent bout of spring-like weather.  The Woodland Border is filling with colour as more and more Hellebores are popping up.  The snowdrops are just past their best but the Pulmonarias are following on.

Simon has been busy and, as well as transforming the Herb Garden by painting all woodwork with preservative, he also repainted the Genever Seat!  This seat is cast iron and I just adore its intricate design and scrolls.  What is so surprising, is its E-N-O-R-M-O-U-S weight.  It is incredibly heavy.  Having said that, he and Al managed to transport if from the cart shed back to the Herb Garden with the aid of wheels somehow.  Whilst baking muffins, Head Gardener was blissfully unaware of these unauthorised manoeuvres!  Anyway well done to them both!  Chocolate muffins were well deserved - it's all looking very smart!!

21 February 2021

Flowers in February!


Elsewhere in the garden, all the snowdrops (Galanthus Flore pleno) have recovered from the heavy snow falls and ferocious frosts as have the Hellebores although I notice that a few have succumbed to blight. The Ribes is fast budding up and the Camelia donation is just coming into flower.  The later flowering Snowdrops in the Aspen Grove are all popping up but, as yet, still in bud.  We rather like this as it extends Snowdrop flowering period in the garden.  The Cyclamen coum are in full flower as are the few Aconites.  All this reminds us that spring really is just around the corner!

In pots the Iris reticulata are all in bloom and Tulips, Crocus and Narcissus are pushing up shoots.  Little wonder we gardeners are such an optimistic bunch!!

More Winter Jobs!

After a Saturday of frozen ground which allowed us to finish emptying the 2018 compost bay and finish mulching garden borders without leaving muddy ruts, it was back to more rain!!  We did however manage to plant our Yew avenue and also prune an Eleagnus.  The plan for the Yews is to prune them into 6 cones - 3 either side of the path.  Being evergreen they will add both structure and year round interest as well as some added formality to the Top Lawn Border. 

However yesterday, it was sawing and splitting logs and a return to power washing slippery paths and stepping stones - thanks to Chris.  It rained all day and was far too wet for anything else.  Chris finished off by washing a couple of garden seats which are due for repainting tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, I toiled in the potting shed dividing and propagating Streptocarpus plants and potting on some Pelargoniums.  The greenhouse plants are showing signs of appreciating the lengthening hours of daylight and are putting on growth.  A smaller Brugmansia propagated 18 months ago is flowering as are some forced Paper White Narcissus and of course a Jasminum Officinale  so the greenhouse is filled with perfume.  Janine's nectarine is just covered in flower buds, some of which are just showing some colour.

Our mini Yew avenue!

8 February 2021

All Move!!

 Despite the unbelievably wet ground, we were able to move a Magnolia grandiflora, a Pinus strobus minima and even some Bergenias - not to mention 2 very heavy statues known as Ten Ton Thumbelina and Hefty Hetty!! Instead of standing shyly underneath the trees by the laurel hedge, these two members of Chris's extensive harem now stand centre stage!  They've moved just a few yards to either side of Kay's arbour.  

I've had another idea of planting a short but formal avenue of bare root Yews either side of the path.  They can be clipped to shape small tear drops and would mean we had some winter structure. Now is the perfect time for bareroot planting also, pot grown trees are much more expensive!

From July to February - how different these 2 photos look

1 February 2021

Range Cooking in the Herb Garden!

 Whilst snowfalls, rain and floods have delayed many garden jobs, Chris Genever was able to install our latest feature in the Herb Garden!!  Yes!  A little cast iron cooking range!!  I absolutely love it and would have had it in the house if I could have found room for it! 

I found some odd bricks (always so useful to have a few spare bricks kicking around!) which enabled Chris to build it in properly.  He even made some new hinges for the oven door using some sections of copper tube.  For now, I've put a pot of primulas in the the grate - yellows, reds and oranges to resemble flames - of course!  I'll have to revisit my planting theme for summer but, for now, we need some sunshine!  

This new feature has stolen Easter Island Man's spot so he (and his hairstyle) need rehoming elsewhere in the garden............


30 January 2021

Meteorological Vicissitudes!


Since my last post, we've had rain, rain and more rain which has meant flooding.  This was followed by 4 inches of snow which lasted 3 days then thawed.  Now it's raining again which will mean even more flooding!  The ground is now beyond saturated and literally sings if you dare to walk on it.  Being such a baby, I really did love the snow despite all its impracticalities!  The garden looked so desperately pretty.  

I needn't have worried about emerging Hellebores and Snowdrops as they coped perfectly well!  Aconites too are popping up and, scenting the entire garden, is the Sarcococca and Chimonanthus. At the head of the Fernery path are Chris's Cyclamen coum & a few Narcissus have been spotted poking through although, it would be prudent if they didn't pop out too early.  

Chris has been busy power washing the algae off the York flag stones and ensuring they're safe to walk on.  Without this annual winter ritual, they become exactly like an ice rink!  I retreated to the greenhouse and divided and potted all my Pinguiculas moved all the pots containing over wintering plants and had a good tidy up and sweep out dead leafing as I went.  

With their slimy and sticky leaves and sodden compost, dividing Pinguiculas is really not the nicest job in the world!  However they bloom prolifically and live on insect pests.  I started with a single plant 2 years ago and now have 6!


9 January 2021

January Hoar Frosts

Another Saturday and not so much gardening!  Chris had a tree emergency call out - a fallen tree had crashed down and severely damaged a bridge.  We've also been enjoying proper winter weather with a week of hard frosts, some really pretty hoar frosts. I don't feel that we're too behind with season work - so am not too the moment!

Yesterday afternoon our resident Under Gardener was very busy assembling our new Hartley Botanic shelving.  In reality it's more like an etagere.  Unfortunately and, for reasons that I won't go into here, it arrived too late for overwintering greenhouse plants and will wait until spring before its pressed into use.

I did however tidy up quite a few overwintering Pelargoniums and even managed to de- leaf some Hellebores before succumbing to the cold and creeping back indoors!!