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!


24 February 2017

Conservatory Cologne

Jasminum Officinale
4 feet of fragrance!

Here's what's happening in the conservatory. The Jasmine is filling two rooms with the most divine fragrance. A single flower is packed with perfume so imagine this many! Each year after it's finished blooming, I cut it right back and it spends the summer outside. Each year, this is my reward. So easy but so worth it.

Avian Animosity!

Passer domesticus

Meanwhile, in the greenhouse and out of the gale force winds, a few primulas provide a little bit of welcome colour and the yellow ones are very fragrant. Not only are these protected from the weather but, the pesky sparrows can't annhilate these. This garden is plagued with house sparrows which absolutely decimate the Wisteria, Primulas and Polyanthus EVERY year. One reads that house sparrows numbers are down well, NOT here! They are absolute gannets with beaks like chainsaws! It's not as if they even sing! I wish they'd all emigrate to the people who tell us they're in decline. 

Well that's got sparrows off my chest!

After the Storm.

Doris damage!

Well!!  Storm Doris was a bit of a blast! No real damage but chairs, bird houses and garden seats overturned and a set of wind chimes now in need of repair! The lawn is covered in small branches and twigs but nothing a good tidy up won't fix.

On the plus side, today was wonderfully sunny and it's amazing to see that the really fragile snowdrops and aconites are easily able to withstand 60 - 70 mph winds.


20 February 2017

Ahead of the Game.

The weather was so mild and the ground so dry, I was able to top the grass and edge all borders. That was after the tool and potting sheds had a spring clean and the balcony a coat of creosote.  Even the new rails down by the compost heap had a coat of creosote!

The residents in the Henclosure were following the mower up and down their fence in the hopes I would thrown them a box of grass cuttings to scratch around in - which I did!  Never have we been so ahead with garden jobs in February!

A spring cleaned tool shed.
An unusually tidy garden for February!

Valentine Path!

A heart of pink granite

Valentine Path

How could I resist posting a few more photos of our finished project?  Especially as these were taken in daylight! Our new path comes complete with a heart of pink granite - well it was constructed over Valentine's Day! We were unable to clear up around it without getting it muddy but as soon as the mortar is completely dry, I shall clean it all up and the features and character will show up even more. The date shows up really well already. This was made by Chris cutting sections of clay tiles - we could only ever use roman numerals as we couldn't replicate the curves of Arabic numerals! The enlarged 'yard' area in front of the compost bays is a huge improvement, the benefits of which have been appreciated already.

Chris built in 2 small steps behind the Pear Door and when the snowdrops have finished flowering, a few will be moved 'in the green' so that we can continue the wood chip path around the back of the Woodland Border enabling us to sneak down to the compost heap via an alternative route and without trampling any precious snowdrops!

Extended 'yard' area.

19 February 2017

Another Project Finished!

Another late finish!

Two days and two Chris's (plus one apprentice!) and the whole thing completed!  Setts all laid. mortar all rubbed down and soil all levelled and seeded. Well done team!  I can hardly believe it's all finished. Of course, the grass will need to germinate and put on much growth before we can use it.
Thank goodness, we have an alternative route to the compost corner via the red brick and service paths! 

Of course we couldn't lay a new path without incorporating the date!  We used (expertly!) cut tiles on edge. Whilst the real skill is in the laying of the setts, it always surprises me what a huge difference rubbing down mortar makes. As soon as we have a little planting to overhand and soften the hard edges, it'll look as if it's been there forever.

From now on, we'll have no more muddy trecks to the compost heaps ever again!

...and after.

Mortar rubbing down before ...

14 February 2017

Paving Progress.

An uprighted gate which now opens outwards.
Curving round the buoy!

A damp and glacial morning yesterday with a bitterly cold easterly wind was exactly what I didn't need for rubbing down mortar - particularly as I had to do it twice! Somehow I hadn't taken it down enough and it was uneven compared with Chris's work the day before. However the sun came out today and it's all looking pretty good!  As we were eking out the setts, every 4th row is a line of cobbles which will show up more when the mortar dries out.

10 February 2017

Compost Corner Creative Conversion!

Surprise, surprise! A new garden project is under way. The granite setts in front of the compost bays which were laid in soil were all showing many signs of wear. The sets had become too prominent and uneven. The Pear Gate was jamming on them and the whole area was in need of a make-over. Enter Chris Genever yesterday afternoon!  By close of play yesterday, all the setts had been removed, the soil level lowered, concrete slabs laid in front of both compost bays (how much easier to shovel on a smooth surface?) and many granite setts re-laid on concrete.  We were lucky with dry weather and at least filling wheelbarrows meant I was fractionally warmer than if I'd cleaned soil of the sets!

Today was even colder but even more setts were perfectly laid precisely in line and were mixed with cobbles to form an exact line between the to two gates. Guess who'll be rubbing down mortar tomorrow!