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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2 September 2018

Let there be LIGHT!

Keeping the dining room cool during the summer heatwave
Feeling like a jungle
Time to prune the Wisteria and free up the window frames for painting as well as allowing more light in now (dare I say?) the days are getting shorter. Some of the whippy side shoots were miles long. It's during the big summer prune when we're reminded what a beast our favourite King of Climbers really is! I think we took 5 barrows full of Wisteria down to the compost heap! Another job before winter rains was to free up a drain by digging out a ditch which really wants grading but at least it's free running now - or will be! Last job of the day was to hang a really elegant teapot in the teapot tree - it's actually an Acer griseum. Sadly the teapot lid was broken but, should we find a replacement, it will be pressed back into use.

All clear ready for painting!

30 August 2018

Situation Normal?


Well, we're getting back to normal or, whatever counts as normal for PTC.  Having done a bit of a harvest yesterday, it was drying the Apache chillies, eating the runner beans (which were a tad older than ideal - so much happening before open gardens was to blame!) as well as making another 7 pints of soup with the tomatoes. I found that the Di Bolsa are really excellent as this variety has far fewer seeds and plenty of flesh. Just what's needed for soup!




Mowing and deadheading took on a much more relaxed approach as did hoeing the veg patch. There was even time to take a few photos of the Chrysanthemums. I've never grown them before and I just love their autumnal scent. It actually is getting more like autumn with days noticeably shorter and very dewy mornings - say no more!!

Soggy Twilight Garden Opening!

Brave visitors sheltering from the rain!
End of a successful day.
Following all the dire weather forecasts for a cold and wet Bank Holiday Sunday, we feared no visitors at all.  We needn't have worried as 42 hardy souls braved the elements and turned out.  Chris had helped do an amazing jobs on extra lights and on a rainy Sunday morning appeared with eyes for Colin the Caterpiller!!  When dusk fell, the rain stopped but it was still very cold and breezy. Alas no candles out in the open but Chris ensured they illuminated the windows of the General Sores, the Pear Hut, the Tool Shed, Potting Shed, Studio and greenhouse. He lit all lanterns and that together with Dave's earlier garden light MOT meant that the garden looked really pretty.  If anything with the wet surfaces, there was more reflection!
Chris illuminates the old chimney.

Our loyal band of helpers weren't going to let the weather put them off either. They donned on their aprons and got to work. We were even able to run 2 shuttle buses thanks to Malc Wilkes (no relation to Lyn!) and Dave Evans. We thank them all very much. This 2 car system worked brilliantly.

A special vote of thanks goes to our waitresses, washers up and cake bakers who were Lyn Wilkes, Lyn Glaze, Lindy Hobbs, Di Evans, Pat Finch, Dianne Ratcliff, Cathy Anstey, Maureen Androlia & Sandra Kelley. We also thank all our neighbours whose offers of help with regard to parking make it possible in the first place!  You know who you all are! We couldn't do it without the help of friends and neighbours!

Having done all the sums, we then opened the donations tin only  to find another £102.04.  This pushed our total for the day up to £407.74!! Now considering the awful weather, THAT is truly amazing!!  


Well done team!!

A very special thank you goes to Ian Foster who turned out late that night and rescued four of our visitors whose car became stuck in a ditch at the bottom of the lane.  He arrived just minutes after a call for help.  What a star!! We hope he was suitably rewarded by the driver.

25 August 2018

Final Garden Preparations!


 

Following a frenzied few days of garden work, all is ready for tomorrow's Twilight Garden by Candlelight tomorrow event despite the appalling weather forecast!! Edging every border and lawn edge with a half moon edging tool and long handled edging shears proved quite a marathon! Chris came today and we put up extra lights around the conservatory even Colin the Caterpiller had a hair cut and a set of lights! The Bay tree has lights and Chris also sneaked a set beneath the verandah on the tool shed! Dave came yesterday and fixed lights, swapped bulbs and generally gave them a ll a bit of a MOT.
It poured with rain as we trimmed the Yew topiary - sigh! Bits of trimmed Yew stuck everywhere so clearing up was even more major than usual! Chris strimmed and trimmed and then whizzed round the outside hedges. I did all the verges and picked up the trimmings. We eventually came in at 8pm - yawn!  I don't think the weather will allow us to light many candles but the garden has never looked tidier and the lights look really pretty. More photos here: PTC Garden by Night


20 August 2018

Jammy or what?

Weighing the crop!


Chris enjoying his mulberry jam!
How could I not write a quick post on this? A couple of weeks ago, Chris rolled up with a basket of the most glorious freshly picked mulberries. We could hardly believe our eyes! They were crying out to made into the world's most delicious jam. \having done that, I knew it the next step had to be a baking session in order to achieve the very best cream tea ever. Using my favourite Mary Berry recipe, I made the lightest scones. That only left the easy bits - some authentic Cornish clotted cream and a pot of Lady Grey tea.


The finished product all sealed and labelled.
 

Now THAT's a cream tea!!

Et voila!  2 whole jars have been consumed already - gulp!

19 August 2018

Well and truly in the soup

Genever tomatoes ripening
Newly pruned vine
With next Sunday's Twilight Garden by Candlelight looming worryingly close, work started early - in the greenhouse. The grape vine suffered serious mildew in such a dry season and, as it's only grown for shade, I decided to give it an early prune. It was a fairly major task with my new and extra stable steps on duty as the apex is really quite high. There were mountains of prunings to clear up but hopefully the extra light will help ripen the still green tomatoes. Talking of which, they have been cropping really well and I've made 10 pints of delicious tomato soup already. Served with fresh basil from the Herb Garden it's taken a cast iron will to freeze batches and not just eat it all straight away! These are the tomato plants grown from seed by Chris Genever. Many are large Italian varieties which are ideal for cooking and really full of flavour.

Homemade tomato soup with basil & crouton pockets.




13 August 2018

Conifer Owls in the Making!

Owl beginnings.

Despite the much needed rain, it would have been so much more convenient if it hadn't decided to pour down on Saturday afternoon. After tidying up a little corner border by the Yew hedge and taking out a Lonicera fragrantissima, Chris forked it all over and I found a few plants - namely some Irises, a Penstemon and some Filipendula ulmaria which I grew from seed last Autumn. The herb garden also had a thorough tidy up and another Sage & Rosemary were planted.
Ear inspection.


Afterwards, Chris set about trimming the conifer down by the compost heap and making it into an owl!! The nearby totem pole had a coat of creosote and then it began to rain really heavily and looking up all the time meant a face full of water and the bonfire was a bit of a failure. As it was the first owl cut, it'll take a couple of years to shape up but beginnings can be seen.

The heavy rain meant an unusually early finish for us!!


Making owl ears!

10 August 2018

Tenbury Wells Gardening Club

Members of Tenbury Wells Gardening Club

Wednesday 8th August saw another group visit to PTC garden, this time I remembered to take a photograph! Despite the welcomed cooler weather, the sun shone and their visit raised another £80.00 for the National Gardens Scheme charity. Thank goodness, we got home in time for me to mow and edge just before they all arrived!

Another result of this visit was the the enthusiasm shown by one couple who expressed a real interest to open their own garden for the National Garden Scheme next year. Let's hope it works out!

Thanks to one and all for your support and your kind comments.

5 August 2018

Thinning Miniature Giants!

Water lily struggles!
When the weather is seriously hot and sunny, it's always nice to find a cool job in the shade or, in this case water!  On this week's list was thinning out aquatic plants - namely the water lilies.  Some years ago I was given a miniature pink water lily.  Over time, it had taken over half the pond and almost the entire water surface was covered in plants or leaves of some sort.  Out came much of the Elodia crispa (which oxygenates the water) and watercress. Chris then donned on the waders! When he does that, he means business!

Striding out manfully into the pond, he approached the offending water lily and tried to scoop it up. The miniature water lily was now a giant and too heavy for even him to lift out. Instead he divided it into 3 sections and heaved out each one separately. It was a MONSTER of epic proportions. We replanted a single tiny piece and will be keeping a strict eye on its growth in future. Heaven knows why these plants are so expensive in garden centres. They grow like weeds!
Die!

Talking of which - we waged our continuing war on Bindweed (Convolvulus) by winding it all up, placing it in plastic bags and spraying it with a systemic weed killer. DEATH to Bindweed! The reality is, that over time, we have both won and lost Bindweed battles and this ongoing war has been fought for over 14 years. We fight on!

Meanwhile, Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea) is the only type of Convolvulus welcome in PTC garden! These were plants brought by Chris Genever and grow in a pot up a willow wigwam support and what a colour!

Now that's a Convolvulus!

24 July 2018

Vandalism in the Garden Tool Shed

The culprit!
Given the intensity of this prolonged heatwave; for the past few nights, I've been leaving the garden tool shed windows open. Imagine unlocking the door the other morning and finding cans of creosote overturned, axes, muck forks and brooms strewn over the floor.  Add excrement and chewed up straw to the scene and now guess what was getting in!  Well naturally one assumed that the culprit was gaining access via the open windows so after a major tidy up I thought nothing more about it until I was greeted with an identical scene 2 days later!  

Last night, I left the windows open a tiny fraction.  The gap was far too small for an animal capable of creating this much chaos to climb through. This morning, I was greeted by a similar scene of devastation!  Tools, straw and general vandalism everywhere. I cleaned up everything - AGAIN and this time took out the remaining straw stuffing it into an old compost sack.  Whilst dead heading nearby, I could have sworn that the bag containing the straw moved but  immediately realised that a welcome breeze had got up and probably responsible for any movement.  The weird thing was, I still had this feeling of some creature nearby.

This evening, I decided to have one last check and shook the bag violently. The straw was very slow to come out but did eventually fall onto the grass. Rolled up in a ball and falling out with the straw was a large and very hungry hedgehog!!

Image result for The adventures of doctor prickleback geoffrey higham
Who would have thought that a hedgehog could have caused so much wanton vandalism?? Anyway, after a hearty supper of dog food he went merrily on his way no worse for his adventures - reminding me of my favourite childhood story book: The Adventures of Doctor Prickleback by Geoffrey Higham.