The gardens of 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!


20 October 2019

No Chris Saturday!

This is what we're preparing for!
Planning for more of these!

Our Chris has been doing a spot of travelling so garden work has continued but in a more sedate manner! The greenhouse is filling up with over-wintering tender plants and the glass is being cleaned in stages.  When its glass cleaning time, the greenhouse is FAR too big.  When finding space for overwintering plants, it's FAR too small!! Meanwhile, the Under Gardener cut the lawns & manfully carried in the heavier pots!

Meanwhile, Tulips (9 varieties), Chinodoxa, Iris reticulata and also some Paper Whites and Tete-a-tetes with Hyacinths have all been planted and top dressed with horticultural grit.  I even remembered to label them all this year!  Sounds a lot of bulbs but the reality is, they only filled 5 pots and I was forced to go shopping for more. So, more planting to do! Nevertheless, the sun was shining and my friendly robin sat a couple of feet away watching!

15 October 2019

Rooted Out!

...........Well!  The suckers at least!

Long grass with  tree suckers.

Battling to pull out the aspen suckers.
Work continued on Aspen sucker removal last Saturday.  Not a 2 minute job as they were so numerous despite being all cut down in June.  Having dug each one up and pulled them out, Chris was then able to cut the grass - a job we would normally do in summer.  However with all these  monsters, we knew it would only make their removal even more tricky. 

Much strimming and and mowing followed and although the ground looks a tad bare, I really don't care.  In the grass, we found and rehomed 5 frogs - all with the correct number of legs thank goodness! Well you never know with so much mowing and strimming so always best to count!!

I know the grass will recover from its late haircut and I'm looking forward to stump grinding and tree replacement!!

Should I mention again the removal of a badly shaped and badly placed apple tree from in front of the greenhouse?  Absoluttely no regrets!  We're really enjoying our new view of the greenhouse!

Visible for the first time from the bottom of our mini orchard!  The Hartley Botanic greenhouse!!

6 October 2019

More Lucky wins at Trumpet Ploughing Match

'Hey! Don't forget me!'
Trophies are only held for a year!

Head Gardener was very lucky at Trumpet this year!  As well as being placed in other classes, a best in show with an arrangment in Chris's enamel jug was the most exciting triumph. The trophy was a very elegant pewter ewer.  As ever, there were teams of working horses to drool over, vintage tractors a brilliant full roast lunch and plenty of lovely characters! The weather held dry and a thoroughly good time was had by all!

Lots more photos here: Trumpet Ploughing Match 2019

Bumping into old friends.
Best in Show in Chris's old jug & some proper ploughing!.

1 October 2019

Loving Trees and Views!

I know we were only meant to remove Aspens but also getting the chop was a misshapen apple tree right at the bottom of the greenhouse steps.  We had no view from the greenhouse terrace and no view of the greenhouse from our little orchard.  A very brave decision was made.  The apple tree has now gone and we are really enjoying our new views!  It also means more sunlight for the greenhouse.  After all, we do have other apple trees - 3 in fact.

This view pf the greenhouse was previously obscured by an apple tree at the foot of the steps.
The danger of having a garden with a view and loving trees.  We plant trees and lose the view! Even on this dull and misty day, I don't want to lose the view across the valley to Hillside and Woodbury.

I can guess what you're thinking!  Look at the height of the cherry down at the bottom!  See what I mean???

A pile of grass marks the spot where an 
apple tree once stood .

30 September 2019

Aspen Removal

Brashed and ready for felling.
Chris came armed with a selection of chainsaws - one rather natty one which can be used as a pole saw.  It was out with the Niwaki steps and away to go.  First, he brashed all the trunks and one by one he felled them so expertly that every single one landed in the pre-planned spot. The 2 tallest at the front had only a narrow landing spot between 2 fruit trees.  Despite the adverse high winds even they landed bang on target.

Now. Here's a thing!  We don't miss them.  That has come as quite a shock as we all thought their removal would lave a huge gap in the sky.  In fact, the copper beech can now be seen in all its glory and the cider apple trees in the neighbouring orchards can be seen again.

Burning the brash.
 The trunks were logged up and the brash lugged away and burnt.  Next week, the plan is to grind out the stumps and commence sucker removal.  Watch this space!

WARNING! Think twice before planting these invaders.

Invading Aspen suckers

OK!  What's this photo I hear you think? Well, it's about 185 reasons not to plant Aspens in your garden.  What you see used to be a grassy mini orchard with 3 or 4 fruit trees.  In this photo all that can be seen are Aspen suckers - and they're taking over the world! In June every sucker was removed. Each one of these has grown back in less than 4 months. Surely, this is as bad as a certain knotweed! We've grasped the nettle and decided to remove the Aspens, dig out all the suckers and replant with multi stemmed Silver birch (Betula utilis jaquemontii). A BIG mistake was made back in November 2011 when we planted 5 Aspens.  We will treat them as a crop and even though it's not the best wood in the world, we will season the logs and burn them.  Carbon neutral heating!! Mistakes in a garden mean opportunities to do something else and that is exactly what we plan to do!

Beginners Luck at Malvern Autumn Show

Papyrus cyperus haspen
Rabbit's Foot Fern ( Davallia fajeensis)
Pelargonium L'Elegance

We decided to have a go at Malvern this year.  Ideas above my station? It felt like it.  I scrutinised the schedule and thought very hard.  How could we possibly get that Pelargonium over to Malvern? 4 feet of the most fragile, delicate and brittle trailing Pelargonium ever grown. I decided against even trying.  Chris was quite outspoken saying that if it meant him carrying it every step of the way, it was going.  Trouble was, he thought I meant the Spring show not last Friday!!  True to his word he sneaked away from his job for a few hours and we set off with the whole plant on its stand but leaning dangerously on only 2 legs with Chris holding it all together! The boot was full of plants and flower arrangements and I had another Papyrus between my feet. There was no room to sit in the front - only enough room for Al to drive!

Chris doing a balancing act en route
Garden flower arrangement
 We set off with much trepidation.

When we arrived and saw the size of the tent and number of tables, I was immediately overawed.  Still, no going back now.  A friendly steward issued my competitor number and entry cards. Having found the right tables, Chris and Al carried in the exhibits and stood them all in place.  A tad more titivating and that was it.  No news til Sunday - or so we thought.  The first surprise was a post on Facebook showing that the Pelargonium had won 1st!! At the time all three of us were having a bonfire and really couldn't believe it!

On Sunday, we set off in great excitement.  I could hardly wait to see a coveted red and gold prize card.  Imagine (if you can) my shock at finding 3 more!! The Rabbit's Foot Fern, the Papyrus and the arrangement of cut garden flowers had all won 1sts!!  If ever there was a cause for celebration - that was it!!  We'd already opened a bottle of fizz upon learning of the first win.  Finding three more the following day...........................we're still coming back down to earth!! 

We also made Worcester News: Success at Malvern

Gardening really can be full of the biggest surprises!