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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12 September 2017

10 September 2017

September Saturday Slog!

Not much tree but lots of hill!
Despite a distinctly autumnal feel, there's been quite a few things going on the garden this week. The last of the Yew got its annual haircut.  Last week, we did the random Yew hedge which Chris hates doing! Teetering around on the top of a pair of steps whilst wielding a pair of shears isn't the easiest but it's good for my pecs!

Random hedge trimming
This week, he trimmed the Yew tree by the greenhouse alone but only because I was busy making the bacon sandwiches! Next on the list was revisiting the Tibetan cherry which was pollarded a few weeks ago. There has been so MUCH debate about this tree which was obscuring Woodbury Hill in its entirety. I knew that it didn't enough space for growth before Woodbury would again be obscured in no time at all so; this time, we've done a more radical pollard - more in the French style. If after regrowth, it looks too awful, we'll remove the remaining trunk. After all there's a Witch Hazel behind it and we've planted over 35 trees in this garden which is surrounded by a further 24,000 apple trees! Incidentally, summer pruning is meant to help prevent silver leaf.
The afternoon was spent picking half the apple crop from our trees and Chris made a start on power washing the flag stones as the algae makes them deadly when they're wet at this time of year. I made a start of Geranium reduction and waged war against whitefly in the greenhouse. Another typically varied Saturday!

3 September 2017

Happy Hens mean Heaps of Eggs!




Our happy band of layers have been working overtime. In 4 months, our little flock of five have laid a total of 452 eggs!! At this time of year, they're tucking in with relish to all the fallen apples and pears which they absolutely love.

As the nights draw in, temperatures begin to drop and the hours of daylight shorten, so egg numbers will reduce accordingly. However, in the 4 months, excess egg sales made £44.00 another small PTC record. This pays for their layers' pellets and mash
But for today's brunch on a dark and damp September Sunday, it was scrambled eggs on toast, home grown Aga baked tomatoes with a parsley garnish. Lucky us!

30 August 2017

Austria's Answer to Monty Don!


This is Karl Ploberger - Austria's answer to Monty Don! Karl is a horticultural TV celebrity in Austria where he presents his own TV programme on gardening. Horticulture is also very popular over there and there is a particular interest in English gardens. He and his colleague visited Pear Tree Cottage today as he is over here checking out possible venues to bring Austrian horticultural enthusiasts next year. After a grey and showery day, the sun came out just in time for his visit!

SUCCESS BY TWILIGHT!

I can now report that our Twilight Garden by Candlelight event was a roaring success and easily broke all previous records! We enjoyed having over 300 visitors who ate every crumb of cake and drank every drop of wine. We cleared an astounding 
£2,014.30 
- more than three times last year's total. All this will go to the National Garden Scheme which supports all the really caring charities.

A big thank you to all the ladies (and in this case, gentlemen too!) who made delicious cakes, helped serve teas and wash up. Another big thank you to Chris and Ian who lit hundreds of candles in perfect weather conditions making the garden look like a magical fairy tale garden! It's not a five minute job lighting so many candles and placing them all out AND finding time to make a couple of Swedish log candles and lighting them too! Thank you also to the local media who helped promote our event and, lastly - a big thank you to all our visitors who turned out to support the event and make it the great success it was! 

27 August 2017

Last minute preparations!

Ollie Marshall's finial
Ollie & Chris remove the old finial.
The old wooden finial on the summerhouse had completely rotted through and was under attack by woodpeckers. The base on which it stood was in the same sorry state. Enter Ollie Marshall! He made a new finial and base and brought it over today. This time, woodpeckers will have no chance as Ollie has made a new finial out of metal and also a metal base. He and Chris installed it today - just in time for open gardens tomorrow. As a finishing touch a saline solution was made up and poured over it finishing off with a sprinkling of salt, all to speed up the rust process.

The new metal finial in place.
As well as mowing, hoeing and blowing everywhere, Chris trimmed and strimmed hedges and unmowable grass! We practically hoovered the entire garden and then, we sat down and filled a couple of hundred jam jars, lanterns, tea light holders. After dinner, and, as if that wasn't enough, we checked, tested, adjusted and cleaned every single electric light.
Now; with Pat Finch's amazing cakes, all we need is good weather!!


Pat Finch's fab cakes.

19 August 2017

The Staffordshire & District Cottage Garden Society visit Pear Tree Cottage Garden

Lindy & Lyn
The tea queue!
This was a Saturday completely out of routine! For me, it was an unusually early start tidying up and sweeping out the greenhouse and after a windy night, blowing all the fallen leaves and debris off the lawns which had been manicured yesterday afternoon! All this was in preparation for a visit from The Staffordshire & District Cottage Garden Society. Despite the chilly and blustery August weather, the sun came out and the rain held off. We enjoyed meeting a very happy group and raised £191.00 for the National Garden Scheme. 

At absolutely no notice, Lyn and Lindy came bearing cakes and slaved away serving teas and washing up! Lyn even organised the conservatory and brought lovely china cups, saucers & tea plates for use at future events. Thank you both again for your help. What a couple of stars! I think our visitors loved the cakes best!!



Just about warm enough to sit outside!

13 August 2017

Major Logging Session

Chris at work
Ian's hydraulic log splitter
With 6 tons of ash tree on the drive, there wasn't any time at all for any gardening this Saturday! Al had lugged and stacked 12 wheelbarrows full of the smaller logs so it was out with the axes and chainsaw to split the rest. Chris and I made a start with him using the heavier splitting axe. 
The pile just got bigger and bigger!

Hopes were raised when Ian arrived on a tractor with a hydraulic log splitter. However, all hopes were soon dashed when we discovered that the hydraulic fluid level was zero.  It was back to the tool shed to search out a little used third axe! In fact, it was a small one which had never been used here before. At first the log pile grew even bigger and, having split the easier straight grained logs, I changed jobs to loading, lugging and stacking. As is usual at PTC, everyone mucked in and gradually the pile on the drive grew smaller and the stacked logs in the log stores, bigger. It's really one of those 'squirrel' jobs - storing fuel for winter. All ready for long and cosy candlelit winter's evenings and roasting chestnuts on the wood burner.

By 5 o'clock it was all finished and the drive swept and cleared! Time for beers (and gin!) 

More logs are now awaited to fill the remaining spaces! Thanks Chris & Ian for all your hard work!