The green and rolling countryside of Worcestershire, England, is home to the cider apple orchards which surround the gardens of Pear Tree Cottage. They enjoy a sunny south westerly aspect with sweeping views across to Martley Hillside, Woodbury and 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!

This began in 2010 & follows the weekly ups and downs of garden work chronicling both successes and failures but, above all, demonstrates the fun enjoyed by three people who regularly garden in all weathers.

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14 January 2020

Rescuing Arums from Ravaging Holly!

The Holly Lolly.
Zantedeschia aethiopica
This is our Holly Lolly.  It used to reside by the side of the pond. Beneath it grew a large clump of Arum lilies.  Each year the Arums would grow up and flower and each year, we'd have some high winds and the prickles on the holly leaves would tear these almost unreal blooms to pieces.

Loving these waxy spathes of perfection
  


Enough was enough!  The Holly was put on the winter list of 'things to move'.  It actually looks much better in its new home by the hospital sign next to the Pear Hut.   
These natives of South Africa known as Zantedeschia aethiopica (quite a name) have such beautiful waxy blooms, they are totally worth protection from a mere Holly!  Actually, we have many wild Arums (Arum maculatum) in the garden and whilst some gardeners regard them as a bit of a pest, we really love them.  Anyway delightful names such as Lords & Ladies and Cuckoo Pint - who wouldn't?

12 January 2020

Sinful Cynthia's Senecio Sunshine Circle.

Madam Cyn advertising her wares by night!

Sinful Cynthia by day!
The weather forecast couldn't have been more wrong.  No warm or strongwinds from the south, no dry weather and definitely no outbreaks of sunshine.  Instead, a very cold  and dull fine drizzle - real frizzy hair weather!


Undeterred, I couldn't wait to tell Chris about the idea I'd had!  A new feature to be called Sinful Cynthia's Senecio Sunshine Circle!!  Following on from the pruning we did last week, I thought Cynthia would look better in the middle of the Senecio if it was trimmed into a circle around her rather then leaving it just a random shrub shape. In other words: Cynthia needed to stand in the centre of a green doughnut! I was right!  Despite this Senecio being a very old and woody specimen, it has always responded well to pruning.

Chris got to work whilst I looked on (still following rehabilitation instructions - sigh!)  It meant cleaning all the ivy out from beneath and reshaping the large ivy clad stump.  The end result was brilliant.  She looks even more of a tart!  The funny thing was that Chris said he'd nearly suggested doing it last week but it became too dark.  Great minds really do think alike!!  We now need to wait for a creation to green up and  later, come in to flower.

Lastly, I know that Senecio sunshine has been reclassified and is now known as Brachyglottis sunshine but just doesn't sound as inviting as Senecio sunshine and wouldn't cut it with my love of alliteration!

4 January 2020

Head Gardener & Under Gardener - Abandoned!

The "new" Birch Grove - formerly the Aspen Grove!!
A no Chris Saturday and with Head Gardener on pathetically light duties, our Under Gardener was on overtime!!  I was in trouble for pruning the Studio Wisteria, finishing all the fig suckers, tidying the Hosta bed and cutting back half the mint in the Harb Garden. 

Hospital Lolly Holly!
I was sent to the naughty step with painkillers so sat and sulked while mending some wind chimes.  Such a lovely and rare sunny dry day not to be able to take advantage of it to the full.  I ask you!!  I did sneak out with a paint brush and creosote a bench and the table and chairs by the pond - left handed.  Having endured the indignity of having to ask someone else to start the leaf blower (sigh), I did have a thorough tidy up!

Meanwhile, the Under Gardener enjoyed having a big bonfire and topping all the lawns and the orchard grass.  It was lovely to smell newly mown grass in the mild winter sunshine!

I checked on last week's newly planted birches and thought a few Skimmias might make great under planting - ahem!

31 December 2019

Radical Tree Changes!

Columns moved/
Deciding which needs moving first!
What with arms in slings and Christmas trips away, Head Gardener has not been as busy as usual!  The incessant rain has also had a big effect as it's been far too wet for any border work.

However.............today was like our usual Saturday.  Chris swapped his day and there was some alien body shining yellow up in the sky!!  Time for our long awaited tree planting!!  Followers may recall that we removed all the Aspens from the Aspen Grove and all their 100's of suckers in readiness for  'The Big Change.'  Firstly Chris moved a Ash bench then 2 of the stone columns  we moved.  Doesn't sound like much of a  job except, they are immensely heavy and each has 3 sections, the bottom sections being surrounded by a huge lumps of concrete.  Having placed and repositioned them, they had to be dug in and the soil compacted around them.  The seat (which also weighs a ton and a half!) was moved to the top of the border and angled to face west and the view across the pond.  In order for it to fit its new postion, its size was reduced with a chainsaw - radical remodelling!  Time to cut back the Senecio around Cynthia (the statue). 

Weighing things up!

All this took ages and we kept looking at the time and realising that not a single tree had been planted.  More ivy was cleared and that together with the trimmed Senecio meant we had more room for manoevre and more choices for our trees.  Eventually, we settled on positions and, after planting them, we moved a Holly Lolly to the corner of the Pear Hut and a Magnolia to the top of the border.  I should perhaps say that the birches are all multi stemmed Betula Jaquemontii Snow Queens.  A dazzling variety that goes silver withinn 2 - 3 years.
If only we'd decided on Birches originally!

Garden Explorations!























Head Gardener has been doing some horticultural exploring and found Derreen Gardens on the Beara Pensinsula in Co. Kerry, Ireland.  Home to the largest collection of naturalised tree ferns in the Northern Hemisphere!  Despite it being December, it is a fabulous place to visit with literally forests of mature tree fern specimens.  If you're ever in the area then this is THE place to



Being December, our expectations weren't exactly high and so it was a really lovely surpise to find such a magical garden in such scenic surroundings.




6 December 2019

Garden Birthday Bonanza!



Hellebore 'Diva' in a faux lead pot
Head Gardener is still in a sling and feeling a tad fed up with not being able to get on with the usual seasonal jobs - sigh!  The garden has suffered one of the wettest autumns and the ground is still so wet, it 'sings'.  There are leaves fallen leaves EVERYWHERE and the Yew topiary by the back door remains untrimmed - for the very first time at this time of year.

However today I did manage some potting left handed and it took 10 times longer than usual!

Acers - Osakazuki & Beni Komachi in their new pots



Having been given a couple of Acers for my birthday, I spent some birthday money on some pots for them and also a Hellebore. Two glazed pots for £10 and a really big English grown Gold Standard  'Diva' for £15. For the Acers,  I used a mix of ericaceous potting medium, grit and JI No 3 with a top dressing of horticultural grit.  Hopefully both will thrive when they're put outside in the spring.  For now, they'll remain in a cold greenhouse.


After all the excessive rainfall we've had to endure,  for the past few days, we've been enjoying a well deserved spell of dry weather with some remarkable sunrises and sunsets.  Sadly using a camera left handed is nearly impossible and using a phone isn't much better!





Sunset from the garden tool shed verandah.

25 November 2019

Rescuing an Oak!

The 2014 rescue.
Totally obscured oak.
In 2014 an oak tree was rescued from its neighbouring thugs.  Fast growing Leylandii conifers had practically starved the oak tree of all light on one side and it was leaning desperately searching for more light.  The side adjacent to the conifers was bare of branches and when the conifers were topped, the poor old oak did look a one sided, sad and spindly specimen. Today, as the sun was attempting to show itself, I couldn't help but notice the improvement. Five years on, the little oak now has branches on both sides albeit a tad short on the conifer side. Oaks are so slow growing, they need extra care not less!

5 years later & thriving once again.