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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21 June 2018

High Winds and Hedge Trimming

A very neat Beech hedge!
Marjoram prior to trimming back
Time for more hedge trimming! This time the other side of the beech hedge that runs along one side of the drive. Clearing up the leaves in high winds was a pain! 
Chris also did the perimeter hedges. His policy is little and often so less disturbance and clearing up. Wise policy! While he was hedge trimming, Head Gardener was on her hands and knees removing dead Forget-me-nots filling the biggest wheelbarrow 3 times and bulking up the compost heap. I also trimmed the 3 Genever Box cones. Chris also strimmed all his edges and we both cut back the Golden Marjoram beneath the roses so that it will clump up again instead of flopping and falling apart. The funny thing is, more visitors enquire about that plant than any other in the garden. It does make useful underplanting for roses. 

Both colour & perfume on a dull day!
Talking of which; they have NOT enjoyed all these high winds! Poor things have really taken a battering. Even the old Albertine over the window which doesn't have any mildew this year (yet... and for the first time for AGES) and is looking at its best is in the teeth of the gale right now! These photos look so calm despite the fact that petals are being strewn throughout the entire county right now!


15 June 2018

Head Gardener takes a morning off!!


The Head Gardener took a few hours off this morning to visit a really lovely sculpture garden at Showborough House, Twyning. 




It was just fabulous and so unspoilt and quirky.  We spent a couple of hours not thinking about our own garden jobs and just enjoyed wandering around before having tea and cake on the verandah overlooking the croquet lawn. Bliss!


After lunch by the river, it was time to head home for mowing and watering!

12 June 2018

Time to smell the roses!

There's been so much happening in the garden of late, there's been absolutely NO time left to write any posts.  Avenues of Verbena bonariensis have replaced the old Michaelmas daisies, Magnolias and silver birch trees have been pruned, hedges have been trimmed, grass has been mowed, edged, strimmed, snipped & trimmed countless numbers of times!

The pond has been a complete pain since we had our influx of goldfish and the filter has blocked numerous times. Cleaning out all the silt is a fairly major and lengthy operation made worse when vital pipes have been broken and requiring immediate replacement improvisation!

Meanwhile in the quite lengthy sunny spell, the garden is looking really pretty with the roses at their best right now. The hardy geraniums are all in full bloom and the scent from the Honeysuckle and Philadelphus is filling the garden. In fact, the weather has been so cooperative, we've even been able to dine al fresco and enjoy the scents and sounds! The greenhouse has been very busy with seedlings being grown, pricked out, potted up, hardened off and planted out - conveyor belt style!

The vegetable plot has had its trickiest season ever. Germination rate with peas, beans and carrots was appalling - the worst ever. Three sowings later we do have something at least something to show for our trouble but, compared with usual years, it's been a poor lot!

Compensating for the vegetables is Chris's Paul's Himalyan Musk rambler which is not only in full bloom but has scrambled to the top of its old wooden ladder and is up in the Leylandii!!

6 June 2018

NGS Open Garden Afternoon

A perfect summer's day helped to attract 90 visitors to our NGS Open Gardens afternoon. Why do gardens look SO much better in sunshine? We raised a massive £686.00 and our total so far this year is already £1,127.00!  Our team did an absolutely wonderful job waitressing, washing up and clearing up at the end of the afternoon.  We were so lucky to have so many wonderful bakers who made and delivered really outstanding cakes which were much enjoyed by our visitors. 

Thanks to Chris, the garden looked as neat as a new pin with perfectly trimmed hedges. He even made an emergency delivery of cushions and distributed them all round the garden ensuring that every seat had its own cushion - even the secret stump seats! He even took the photos.


31 May 2018

Visitors from Austria

A coach arrives in Witton Hill
Karl Ploberger 


PTC was home to some continental guests who came and enjoyed exploring the garden after a day at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. They weren't put off with dull and drizzly weather as all were dressed for some British weather! 

Never before had a coach been seen in our lane and neither had we hosted any foreign gardening TV celebrities before. It was a pleasure to meet Karl Ploberger (https://www.biogaertner.at/) who his Austria's equivalent to Mony Don and his party were both interested and very well informed. Thank goodness for Latin! It took a dead language to make conversing on live plants possible!! They were an absolute pleasure to meet and their visit made the local newspaper: Austrian Gardening Enthusiasts visit Pear Tree Cottage Garden.  We're hoping for better weather and more visitors this Sunday when we open for the National Gardens Scheme.


22 May 2018

Fernery Fun!

Cordelia

In a shady area between the Top Lawn and the Woodland Border lies the Fernery under the watchful eye of Cordelia. Running through it is a narrow stepping stone path. At this time of year, all the inhabitants are unfurling their primeval fronds. Even the tree fern (now in the ground) has 8 healthy fronds!
Looking a tad sinister in the deeper shade!
There are quite a few different varieties and  battling to keep the ivy off them is proving hard work. It's a fine line between natural and out of control! There are even wooden varieties carved out of oak and a natty oak sign all courtesy of Chris.


Enjoying the dappled light.


Meanwhile, down in the greenhouse...!


...It's busy, BUSY, BUSY!
As it's been so cold, nothing too tender has been planted out and there's been a bit more of a backlog than usual as I try to move things out and into the cold frames for hardening off. This is the biggest greenhouse I've ever owned and it's full! Plants are everywhere. I can hardly walk from one end to the other! I can hardly reach over to open the windows as there is a double row of Chrysanthemums in pots alongside the tomatoes. Chrysanthemums are a first for me. I just fancied having a go at some spray varieties for cutting later in the year. Marrow and courgette plants are taking up acres of space with their spreading and prickly leaves. Lord Bute Regal Pelargoniums are displaying their usual colourful arrogance and these are always so thirsty! Having made it through the winter, Heliotropes are filling the air with their cherry-like fragrance. We also have trays of lettuce plants and a mini propagation area where  there are Geranium cuttings all in various stages of growth.  Zantedeschias are putting on lots of growth as are the Agapanthus and Gingers. I really MUST put some of these out before I'm overwhelmed!



20 May 2018

Project Pergola!

Weighing things up!
Standing tall!

For the past few Saturdays, we've been working on another garden project (no surprises there!)  We've been replacing the old pergola with some chestnut hop poles. The original 3"x3" pine was showing signs of rot and because they were shorter than is ideal, had also began to move and disturb the stones in the dry stone retaining wall. These hop poles are 9'x5" and are much deeper. Not only will the chestnut last MUCH longer but it also looks much more rustic. We even managed to cleave the braces and Chris very cleverly cut all sorts of difficult notches and angles which was super tricky on timber not square or straight! There was also an unauthorised photographer sneaking around the garden! Incidentally, we're standing on 'steppy-ups' which makes it look very low. In reality, we can walk beneath it!

Viewed from the top terrace.

Having cut down the Amandii clematis, I shall be much more strict with it in future. It will not be allowed it to scramble among the Wisteria again. Wisteria rules at PTC! 

Meanwhile, the other Chris was slaving away waging war on ivy and moving last year's compost from one bay to the other - both heavy and lumbering jobs. He finished off by cutting the Beech hedge before, we all called it a day and enjoyed well deserved drinks & dinner in the garden a l'Al!!

Viewed from the orchard

16 May 2018

Winter Survivor Thriving!!

Dicksonia antarctica thriving after its first winter in the ground!

The tree fern has not just survived its very first winter outdoors and in the ground but is looking really healthy. We planted it out early summer last year and watered it well all season. In late autumn we really wrapped it up well with underfelt, its own fronds, straw, an inverted pot tray (to keep water out of its crown) and finally the top layer: a coffee sack! 

It just became tooooooo heavy to keep lifting in and out of the greenhouse! In fact, it wasn't just a case of lifting in and out. Because of the huge spread of fronds it needed to be elevated so that space beneath could be utilised.

On trend tree fern winter wear!

14 May 2018

An Ocean of Pink Perfume!

A distant Woodbury Hill


Well, considering the spring we've had this year, the garden isn't looking too bad.  Even if it was, the apple blossom surrounding it makes up for any/everything.  It's a sea of pink perfume! It really is a perfect garden back drop and as for scent.....! I only wish I could bottle it!



View from our bedroom