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!

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8 October 2017

Logs, Ladders & the Last of the Apples!

Ian arrives

The VERY last apple!
Chris came back from Wales and it was another manic Saturday in the garden! It started off so calmly!  Having dropped a surprise load of oak logs from Ian on the drive, Chris took me off to Hallow to load up Clarence with another HUGE load of HUGE oak logs. Having got them all home, Chris did strimming and blowing leaves.
As for me: after clearing a raised border and planting it up with wallflowers - 2 of the best old fashioned varieties: Blood Red and Cloth of Gold. Having done that, it was out with my new Niwaki Japanese ladder and Chris trying it out to pick the apples at the very top - the ones we just couldn't reach.  We all agreed that these are the best steps ever. Being a tripod means real stability and the ability to place them tightly into a tree. In fact they're more like a portable stair case.

Niwaki steps being tested!
Having done all that, it was back to logs. A MUCH bigger job than planned as all the dry logs were at the bottom so they had to be moved, then the green oak logs, lugged round and stacked at the bottom so that the dry logs ended up on top where they will be accessible throughout winter leaving the green logs season for next year. It was dark ages before we were anywhere near finished! In fact it was 8pm - yawn! With huge slabs of oak still on the drive, we ended up sheeting over the dry logs left on the ground and postponing operations. Time for a drink and dinner! When we came back from lunch the following day, Chris had finished it all off and even swept up all on his own - bless 'im!

Just one question: why do I love to see a tractor on the drive so much?
Both garden log stores filled for winter.







1 October 2017

COMPETITION TIME!

PEAR TREE COTTAGE PEARS.


How many 75cl bottles of pear juice from these 2 trugs of pears? The nearest guess wins a bottle - collection only! Don't count the stray apple! Results announced when pressing and bottling is completed.



30 September 2017

Messing with Hops!



Meanwhile, this week saw the annual hop replacement in the kitchen. Hop petals EVERYWHERE!! It just rained hop petals. Luckily, I had Janine helping me. Good job it's only once a year! We returned to The Haven Farm where they sell them. Try to imagine the smell of a granary full of hop bines! I usually have some home dried contributions as well. It all adds a bit of colour on a dark winter's day.


Winning against the Weather!


Our new Japanese tripod gardening steps arrived and so we were looking forward to test driving them whilst picking the last of the apples. We unpacked them with much excitement but were very disappointed to find that they had been damaged in transit. It was a double disappointment as the couriers: Tuffnells lost the first order and so had to wait ages for a second order and delivery to be processed. A real pain when fruit is waiting to be picked - sigh! Remind not to use Tuffnells! Not be be outdone, I managed to do all of the mowing before it rained and then retreated indoors to make soup from the last of the tomatoes from the greenhouse.

25 September 2017

Making hay while the sun hardly shone at all!!

Meadow hay in a coffee bag!
I think my favourite triumph was 2nd prize for meadow hay. Not only was I up against seasoned farmers with tons of the stuff but; it was Rob and Sally-Ann who gave up a few precious hours and helped to cut it. It was only turned 4 or 5 times as we had less than 48 hours of sunshine. Because rain was predicted, I bundled it all up, lugged it into the garage and spread it out on the floor and opened every door and window! It smelled glorious and, still does! before you ask, 'Who's going to eat it?' It will be used in the chickens' nest boxes inducing them to lay even more prize winning eggs!



Prize Winning Eggs!


The girls really came up trumps! They won a clear first in a very toughly fought class. Apart from strong shells and a prominent yolk of a good colour, I'm never quite sure what else a judge looks for in eggs. You will see that one of each of every 4 shown was cracked open into an adjacent saucer. We won a 2nd a few years ago (and with less competition) but have struggled until now. Well done my little egg layers! Of course, we ate the winning eggs for breakfast the following morning!



Chutney Success!



How exciting to get 2nd at Stoke Bliss for a chutney made from home grown excesses! Just because we have been really enjoying eating it doesn't necessarily mean that a judge will like it and the competition was pretty fierce! The ingredients were our Bramley apples, yellow & red tomatoes from the greenhouse, grated ginger, onions & spices. Instead of using malt vinegar which I think is always rather harsh; I opted for cider vinegar. I reckon it was the cider vinegar that nailed it!








20 September 2017

Our grand total for 2017


Another BIG thank you to all who helped achieve this amazing record breaking total!