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!

Translate

18 November 2017

Autumn beats spring when it comes to colour!


Head Gardener and Chief Blogger's been a tad quiet lately because she's up to something at the bottom of the garden!  All will be revealed but, not quite yet.


As for the rest of the garden it's surrounded by the fabulous gold, russet and amber hues of autumn. In contrast, the Acer's are like big red balls of fire glowing in the garden and there's lovely damp earth rotting leaf smell in the air.

The Fieldfares are back in their hundreds and great wheeling flocks can be seen overhead. I love hearing so many of them twittering and fluttering around in the garden and the nearby orchards feasting on the remaining fallen apples. It's amazing to think that each year, they fly in from Russia and Scandinavia for their winter holiday before all disappearing in the spring. Photos don't show hundreds of Fieldfares in the trees but, I promise they're there!

Robins are also very much in evidence and as soon as they spot any soil being moved, they're right on it! Tiny wrens are always hopping shyly in and out of shrubs and the feeding station is full of blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits, black caps, nuthatches and woodpeckers not to mention greedy sparrows.

31 October 2017

Got it all wrapped up!

Dicksonia Antarctica incognito
Being planted earlier in the year.
We had our first frost of the season yesterday so time to think about some TLC for our tree fern as it will have its first winter in the ground. I reckon I did a much better job than even Monty!

En route to the greenhouse last year!
 
All the fronds were trimmed off and used as insulation. Straw was placed in the crown followed by an inverted saucer to keep out water, garden felt was then wrapped around and secured in place with string. More straw gently pushed down the inside with a plastic carrier bag over the top. Lastly a recycled hessian coffee sack was placed over the top and tied in place. I think it looks rather fetching and hopefully will keep it safe until next spring. 

Although, I did rather miss the antics of the big move indoors this year!


Seasonal Garden Maintenance

Halfway through...
..& finished gates drying in the sun.

The most beautiful sunny warm autumnal day!  After potting up Cyclamens, planting out Sweet Williams, mowing the verges, and planting the last of the bulbs in pots, it was perfect weather for creosoting the drive gates ready for winter! It's only a year since they were done but it's always surprising how the sun bleaches out the stain and how much more is absorbed when re staining. I reckon they look pretty smart right now and ready to take on all that winter throws at them! It's hard to believe that it's three and a half years since Chris and I made these gates and built the stone piers. My design & Chris's skill replaced fairly ordinary five bar diamond laced field gates hinged on wooden gate posts. The fabulous old hinges were a present from Chris Pugh.

28 October 2017

Canine Visitors Distract the Gardeners!

Verbena Bonariensis plants
A fine dry Saturday and a long list of jobs!  First up: leaf clearing, weeding and then mulching the Lower Border with compost before planting out all 37 Verbena Bonariensis plants. These had been purchased as tiny plug plants, potted up and grown on.  We have woven them through the border in high hopes for an even higher purple haze of flowers next year! Hopefully they will thrive and seed themselves further.

Meet Marv!
After lunch it was time to reach for the ladder, hedge cutter and head towards the conifers beneath the Oak tree. My job is holding the ladder but halfway through, we were visited by a couple of fabulous Basset Hounds. I came very close to being found guilty of hound-knapping! The moment I was introduced to Marv, it was love at first sight! Alas, I wasn't allowed to keep him and it was back to work. Chris finished conifer cutting so it was time to clear up and then Chris strimmed the ditch and I was allowed to use his strimmer! As a complete novice, I strimmed beneath an old hedge where I can mow. The other handicap was the fading light. I'm hoping it won't look too bad in daylight!

Chris in action

23 October 2017

Tucked Up for Winter!




After getting the lemon tree into the greenhouse and creosoting the planks, today meant a general tidy up and placing other pots in (hopefully) optimum spots. I have a few Pansies and Cyclamen to pot on but will leave them in the greenhouse. I know the Pansies are hardy but they don't like cold wet winters and so often succumb to disease. Anyway, it's always nice to keep a little colour in the greenhouse especially over the long dark days of winter! Talking of which: the clocks haven't even changed yet but darkness fell really early tonight and way before I'd finished work.  Actually, I never mind cosy dark evenings, it's just that there's not enough daylight for gardening jobs!

Winter Approaches.

Winter preparations.
A fairly filthy day this Saturday with strong gusts of wind and squalls - useless for leaf clearance! However, a good day to find work in the greenhouse and, with one Chris in Cornwall enjoying Storm Brian's hospitality, the other Chris (Genever) kindly helped lug the lemon tree up to the greenhouse from the terrace and set it up on a homemade plinth. There it will remain for the winter and we'll see if the lemons continue to ripen and if the greater humidity frees it from Red Spider Mite infestations and their devastating consequences. Placing the lemon tree in the greenhouse means more room in the conservatory for a large Jasmine, an Acacia Dealbata and lots more Geraniums to say nothing of a replacement coffee and now a tea plant!

The geraniums are all now enjoying some bottom heat! It's my attempt to provide 2 micro-climates: humidity for the lemon tree on one side of the greenhouse and a drier atmosphere for the geraniums on the other side. Each year, we lay a couple of scaffolding planks over the tomato bed which keep pots up off the damp soil. I need to move the Oleanders around and to make room for a few more 'delicates' and then it's a case of monitoring the temperature and humidity and keeping an eye on watering until things become a little more spring-like nest year.

19 October 2017

The Charm of an Indian Summer

Garden Helper!

Wild Honeysuckle
Head Gardener has been taking a few days off from her own garden and venturing down south to Cornwall. Gardening gloves did have a short outing whilst doing some minor graveside tidying but a local robin made work very difficult as he was either perched on the headstone or the tool box!! I suppose they're used to lots of tourists.

Colour in the hotel garden
A Cabbage White sipping from a Pink Campion

Talking of gardens, in Cornwall, there wasn't the same autumn livery as up here in Worcestershire. Many hydrangeas were still blooming down there and, given that it's mid-October, the hotel garden was certainly full of colour. When walking up to Nare Point, I counted 19 different species of wild flowers actually in flower - even Dog Violets and Honeysuckle!

Back home: it's cleaning out the greenhouse, unpacking and setting in place the heat mat for the geraniums, pruning the vine and getting things organised so that the lemon tree and the oleanders have somewhere to spend winter. As the atmosphere in the greenhouse is much more humid than the conservatory, hopefully, Red Spider Mites won't decimate the lemon this winter and that it will be warm enough for the many lemons to ripen a little.






8 October 2017

Logs, Ladders & the Last of the Apples!

Ian arrives

The VERY last apple!
Chris came back from Wales and it was another manic Saturday in the garden! It started off so calmly!  Having dropped a surprise load of oak logs from Ian on the drive, Chris took me off to Hallow to load up Clarence with another HUGE load of HUGE oak logs. Having got them all home, Chris did strimming and blowing leaves.
As for me: after clearing a raised border and planting it up with wallflowers - 2 of the best old fashioned varieties: Blood Red and Cloth of Gold. Having done that, it was out with my new Niwaki Japanese ladder and Chris trying it out to pick the apples at the very top - the ones we just couldn't reach.  We all agreed that these are the best steps ever. Being a tripod means real stability and the ability to place them tightly into a tree. In fact they're more like a portable stair case.

Niwaki steps being tested!
Having done all that, it was back to logs. A MUCH bigger job than planned as all the dry logs were at the bottom so they had to be moved, then the green oak logs, lugged round and stacked at the bottom so that the dry logs ended up on top where they will be accessible throughout winter leaving the green logs season for next year. It was dark ages before we were anywhere near finished! In fact it was 8pm - yawn! With huge slabs of oak still on the drive, we ended up sheeting over the dry logs left on the ground and postponing operations. Time for a drink and dinner! When we came back from lunch the following day, Chris had finished it all off and even swept up all on his own - bless 'im!

Just one question: why do I love to see a tractor on the drive so much?
Both garden log stores filled for winter.







1 October 2017

COMPETITION TIME!

PEAR TREE COTTAGE PEARS.


How many 75cl bottles of pear juice from these 2 trugs of pears? The nearest guess wins a bottle - collection only! Don't count the stray apple! Results announced when pressing and bottling is completed.