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!


20 February 2017

Ahead of the Game.

The weather was so mild and the ground so dry, I was able to top the grass and edge all borders. That was after the tool and potting sheds had a spring clean and the balcony a coat of creosote.  Even the new rails down by the compost heap had a coat of creosote!

The residents in the Henclosure were following the mower up and down their fence in the hopes I would thrown them a box of grass cuttings to scratch around in - which I did!  Never have we been so ahead with garden jobs in February!

A spring cleaned tool shed.
An unusually tidy garden for February!

Valentine Path!

A heart of pink granite

Valentine Path

How could I resist posting a few more photos of our finished project?  Especially as these were taken in daylight! Our new path comes complete with a heart of pink granite - well it was constructed over Valentine's Day! We were unable to clear up around it without getting it muddy but as soon as the mortar is completely dry, I shall clean it all up and the features and character will show up even more. The date shows up really well already. This was made by Chris cutting sections of clay tiles - we could only ever use roman numerals as we couldn't replicate the curves of Arabic numerals! The enlarged 'yard' area in front of the compost bays is a huge improvement, the benefits of which have been appreciated already.

Chris built in 2 small steps behind the Pear Door and when the snowdrops have finished flowering, a few will be moved 'in the green' so that we can continue the wood chip path around the back of the Woodland Border enabling us to sneak down to the compost heap via an alternative route and without trampling any precious snowdrops!

Extended 'yard' area.

19 February 2017

Another Project Finished!

Another late finish!

Two days and two Chris's (plus one apprentice!) and the whole thing completed!  Setts all laid. mortar all rubbed down and soil all levelled and seeded. Well done team!  I can hardly believe it's all finished. Of course, the grass will need to germinate and put on much growth before we can use it.
Thank goodness, we have an alternative route to the compost corner via the red brick and service paths! 

Of course we couldn't lay a new path without incorporating the date!  We used (expertly!) cut tiles on edge. Whilst the real skill is in the laying of the setts, it always surprises me what a huge difference rubbing down mortar makes. As soon as we have a little planting to overhand and soften the hard edges, it'll look as if it's been there forever.

From now on, we'll have no more muddy trecks to the compost heaps ever again!

...and after.

Mortar rubbing down before ...

14 February 2017

Paving Progress.

An uprighted gate which now opens outwards.
Curving round the buoy!

A damp and glacial morning yesterday with a bitterly cold easterly wind was exactly what I didn't need for rubbing down mortar - particularly as I had to do it twice! Somehow I hadn't taken it down enough and it was uneven compared with Chris's work the day before. However the sun came out today and it's all looking pretty good!  As we were eking out the setts, every 4th row is a line of cobbles which will show up more when the mortar dries out.

10 February 2017

Compost Corner Creative Conversion!

Surprise, surprise! A new garden project is under way. The granite setts in front of the compost bays which were laid in soil were all showing many signs of wear. The sets had become too prominent and uneven. The Pear Gate was jamming on them and the whole area was in need of a make-over. Enter Chris Genever yesterday afternoon!  By close of play yesterday, all the setts had been removed, the soil level lowered, concrete slabs laid in front of both compost bays (how much easier to shovel on a smooth surface?) and many granite setts re-laid on concrete.  We were lucky with dry weather and at least filling wheelbarrows meant I was fractionally warmer than if I'd cleaned soil of the sets!

Today was even colder but even more setts were perfectly laid precisely in line and were mixed with cobbles to form an exact line between the to two gates. Guess who'll be rubbing down mortar tomorrow!

7 February 2017

Company for Lewd, Rude and Nude!

Our mossy lyre player.
Lyrenal being lifted into place!

We have more arrivals from 'Chris's Classical Collection!'  This time, both are men - one a lot more brazen than the other! One plays the lyre and the other.......well! He looks a quite a bit of a poser! OK he's really a copy of Michael Angelo's David and will probably be known as Dave. Both await their own spot in the garden! Our lyre player is beautifully weathered and even has moss growing on his arm.

29 January 2017

Jewels in January!

...and its highly fragrant tiny white spidery flowers
Sarcococca confusa..
It's that time of year when I was lyrical about Sarcoccoca also known as Sweet Box. We have 3 biggish shrubs in the lower border and a I kid you not, they fill the entire garden with scent from their tiny insignificant flowers! Now you can't say that about many other plants in a cold and frosty January no less! I so believe that every single garden in the country needs this plant - no matter how big or small.

Chris finds it a tad overpowering (probably a man thing!) but I just l-o-v-e  it! It's absolutely no trouble and dead easy to grow. It's evergreen and after flowering has lots of shiny black berries! There are several varieties but Sarcococca confusa is my favourite. 3 sprigs of these will fill a HUGE room with fragrance and beats any synthesised air fresheners!

27 January 2017

Record Breaking Compost!

Kyle spreading compost on the Lower Border
Chris working on the Woodland Border

Thanks to Chris and Kyle, we can now declare that our compost bay has been emptied and spread around the garden in record breaking time! They both slaved away and even managed to turn most of the current year's compost.  We only have 2 bays so our compost is a year old and gets turned once. Having said that it was light and crumbly until the very bottom where it was was slightly heavier and wetter. Never before have we managed to empty it so early in the year. Luckily, the weather defied the forecast and remained dry. 

Enjoying the benefit of all these homemade nutrients are the borders, hedges and vegetable patch.

The compost bays are at the bottom of the garden and that means that the heavy contents have to be pushed up hill! The team did an amazing job and the garden was left as neat as a new pin - even the barrows and shovels were all washed and put away. Very well done both!!

 More photos here.

23 January 2017

Elbow Room for Roses.

...& after.
Following a week of the darkest days, the cloud decided to lift a little and, as the day wore on, even the sun showed its face. Chris swapped his usual Saturday so, it was out with the hedge cutters and a plan to give the roses more room. Being a beech hedge, there were leaves EVERYWHERE! Having cut it back, loads of ivy was exposed and digging it all out was not the easiest job in the world. Roses were snagging one side and twiggy hedge the other with no room to move between the two! My thinking is that the roses won't lean away from the hedge for more light and more air circulation should mean less blackspot and other fungal diseases. Well, that's my theory! The hedge look a tad thin at present but it'll green up in the weeks to come.

And......when we'd finished all the clearing up, we were rewarded with a really pretty sunset.

A perfect January sunset viewed from the tool shed.