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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20 July 2016

Cherry Aid to the Rescue!


Not a cherry thief in sight!

Thanks to the clever people at Cherry Aid and their protective nets, we were able to enjoy a delicious crop of cherries. The branches were covered  just as the cherries began to show signs of ripening and beneath the diaphanous fabric - away from greedy beaks, they continued to ripen to perfection. The sleeves have velcro fastenings down the sides and draw string openings at each end. The blackbirds had to make do with the wild cherries on a neighbouring tree!


Yummy!


All now eaten!

19 July 2016

Phew - it's 92 degrees outside!!!

It's impossible to garden in a heatwave!  This gardener has been busy unpacking her new GTech rechargeable cordless hedge trimmer.  This is what was in the box. I realise that Chris is OIC hedges here at PTC but, I felt I needed something light weight I could use for light trimming such as shaping shrubs and trimming perennials which have finished flowering.  If and when the temperatures drop a little, I plan to try it out on some hardy geraniums that are over. Clumps of fresh green leaves soon reappear and a second flush of flowers, if we're lucky.

In the meantime, this is all I fancy doing in these temperatures and it's FAR too hot to contemplate a visit to the greenhouse - sneaky or otherwise!!

A new table for the greenhouse.

12 July 2016

Hanging Sieve Shelving





I had another idea! This time to use garden sieves (or riddles as they were known) and thought they'd make useful hanging shelving for plants in the greenhouse. I bought lengths of chain and Al and Matt drilled 3 equally spaced holes in the rims of each sieve and inserted lengths of chain from which they could be hung.  So far, they've proved a great success as they allow excess water to drain out ensuring plants don't sit and stagnate. Chains can be lengthened or shortened to suit and, should they be needed, I only have to unhook them for use. Unlike macrame plant hangers, these won't rot in the wet and humid atmosphere of a greenhouse. The smallest galvanised sieve is quite modern and only a few years old whereas the largest is a much older original wooden example. Never to fall of its nail and on my head ever again!!


11 July 2016

Cucumber Cornucopia



With white fly well at bay and 2 burgeoning plants, its cucumber city in the Hartley Botanic! Tomatoes too are beginning to ripen and Heliotropes, Geraniums and Fuchsias adding both colur and perfume to the scene. Maybe this why our resident Morse Toad likes his surroundings so much! He patrols beneath the cucumbers and favours sitting among the lettuce plants

10 July 2016

Trimming the Topiary Sofa

Before Chris got to work  



Once a year the Yew Sofa gets a haircut and last Saturday, Chris got to work with the hedgecutter. We decided on the shape about 5 years ago when it had no shape at all and was in need of lots of TLC. Yew (Taxus baccata) topiary is not as labour intensive as many people think as it only needs cutting once a year - which is just as well as we have lots more in need of Chris's touch!.




Further Fox-proof Fortifications

Chris's antique danger sign!
Cutting the reinforcing mesh.
Before we can even think of replacing the 2 chickens killed by the fox, we spent much time improving their fortifications.  Dare I say that the Henclosure looks a tad more Auschwitz-like now? Hey ho - one has to be practical when it comes to fox defences! Al added some overhanging brackets to which Chris and I attached 2 strands of (fully tested!) electrified wire. We also added some more reinforcing mesh to a new and higher 8'X4"X4" post raising the fence on the south side of the Henclosure.  Now Monsieur Reynard 'knows' where he can make a return visit with another killing spree in mind, we hope his wet whiskers touch the wire! Hopefully the overhanging Bonica rose softens the otherwise austere appearances.

Al's oak brackets
The newly extended beech hedge
The finished heightened fence 

5 July 2016

Savaged to Death by a Fox

Savaged to death by a fox - Marigold & Winifred RIP


Yes - it's happened.  Mr Fox paid a visit on Saturday night. Marigold was silly and didn't go up to their pole house to roost and kept Cicely down below too. Mr. Fox savaged them both. He just beheaded Marigold and ate a little bit of Cicely. Somehow, it wouldn't have been so bad if he had eaten them both or even taken them to feed young but, no it's just the urge to kill for killing's sake. And, to think that hunting is banned........sigh! Al has been busy with more electrified fortifications. Before you even ask, the electric fence was on but he managed to leap over. The Henclosure is full of feathers and Fiona and Winifred are all alone! Thank goodness they had the sense to roost out of harm's way up in the pole house.

Feathers..........
........everywhere.

2 July 2016

New door - new sign




A new potting shed deserves a new sign for its door and having a heart shaped window, the heart shaped slate from the kitchen has now found a new use and a new place. Coincidentally it looks pretty identical in size and style. I'm wondering how the chalk pen will stand up to the rain knowing that it can always be over-written. Another bit of garden character!

Meanwhile........

Geranium Frank Headly



......Our seriously wet June has of course made little difference to the lush and burgeoning contents of the new greenhouse. We now have cucumbers coming out of our ears - well nearly! A little more sun would probably help ripen the tomatoes. All tops have been pinched out leaving between 5 and 6 trusses of ever growing fruits. Outside the greenhouse, our new drainage arrangements have well and truly been put to a severe test. Thanks to Chris, excess water no longer floods into the greenhouse beneath the door and, there's no standing water anywhere at all! I
The new gravelled staging is a huge improvement on the previous wooden slatted staging. Pots no longer tip on the slat edges and it's easy to elevate the humidity by damping down the gravel.