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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22 March 2017

Heart of Oak!

Chris and his creation


Check out Chris's latest amazing creations from ancient reclaimed oak fencing!! How lovely is this pair of tea light holders? This is such a marvellous idea as the pair can be moved around to suit any placing. He's left the original finish on the uncut sides which emphasises the grain on the satin smooth sanded sides and curves. Also, the heart shaped aperture can be back lit. It's the perfect idea and perfect design.  After all, hearts are never out of favour or fashion. Hopefully Chris can be persuaded to make lots and sell them at open gardens.


18 March 2017

Saturday Pond Work


Unusually for us, we seem pretty up to date with seasonal garden jobs so, today meant a big pond tidy up. The border was riddled with Bitter Cress just coming into flower. How satisfying to remove it all before it explodes zillions of seeds everywhere. Our audience was the world's bravest little robin who, was actually perched on my camera strap at one point. He knew I was an easy touch and was hopping around eating any worms we exposed whilst weeding.  It was perfect day for weeding cool, breezy but dry. Weeding around our pond isn't always easy - especially on the side where some fallen trees have been left for nature to do its job. Not that Chris is ever fazed by the thought of rotting logs rolling into the icy depths with him on top!! By the time it was all edged and I'd whizzed around with the mower, it did look MUCH improved. Alas, no frogspawn. I figure the fish always eat it - sigh!


A very tidy pond!
No - he didn't fall in!

14 March 2017

Spring Greens

Recent days have been milder and even sunnier which means it's suddenly looking very spring-like here at Pear Tree Cottage. It's amazing what a difference some early sunshine makes.to the bright lime greens of the wild Euphorbias.

Wild Euphorbias in the Woodland Border

12 March 2017

Our Very Own Mini Woodland Path!!

Woodland Border path looking towards the house...
...& looking towards Compost Corner

As the snowdrops had faded and now is the very best time for dividing and moving them, Chris and I set to work moving the biggest clumps to allow us to lay a simple woodland path. As snowdrops prefer to be planted in the green, it's perfect timing and, with any luck, we'll enjoy carpets of them next spring a little higher up the border. As we'd emptied the old wood chip from the Hennery we had the perfect base for a woodland path. It even looked weathered. The Hellebores and Pulmonarias look so lovely against the limey green wild Euphorbias - I know it's not a woodland path in the true sense of the word but, it's the nearest I shall ever get and I love it! With the Symphitum, Epimediums and Narcissus all in flower either side and Lilies-of-the-Valley lying in wait, I couldn't be more pleased! This path is also pretty vital at the moment as the main path is out of bounds until the grass seed germinates and it's the main route to the compost heap! Historically this border never enjoyed any access at all and plants could only be viewed at distance from the lawn. It's so much nicer being able to walk between them and down to the new steps built by Chris G in compost Corner - especially at this time of year. 
Epimedium



The Woodland Border from the lawn
Hellebores & Symphitum












Avian Eggspectations!

The 'House for Hens'
The Hennery


We eventually finished restoration work on the 'House for Hens' (despite certain difficulties in the door manufacturing department - and with their manufacturer!) All was well that ended well and wobbly screws were removed and replaced and doors straightened! I made little copper sills and door strips with scalloped edges to keep the rain out and help prevent the ply de-laminating. In time, the copper will weather and turn a lovely green - if the structure lasts that long!

The entire house was sanded down and repainted after the inside had been thoroughly creosoted (which Chris discovered all over his hands when lifting it back onto its pole!). The Hennery has now been swept out, the old wood chip removed (and used to make a woodland path) and disinfected with Jeyes fluid. Chris G called and placed mortar where certain rodents had been gnawing meaning that they no longer have a direct route in. New woodchip has now been laid and everything awaits the arrival of our new flock next month. I can hardly wait as the garden seems SO totally empty without any kind of livestock!

7 March 2017

Poultry Preparations

A freshly painted House for Hens
Creosoting the inside.
Preparations are well underway for a new flock of five! The 'house for hens' was dismantled a week ago and brought up for restoration. The inside has now been thoroughly spring cleaned and creosoted. Not a single corner was missed. The nest box and tray has also received the same treatment. Today the exterior was sanded and repainted and it's looking nearly as good as new. The 'Under Gardener' has even made a new front door, repainted its hinges and bought new hinges for the rear door. Hopefully, next Saturday it will be reinstalled on its oak pole. Sadly, I don't think the company making these Medieval style Houses for Hens are still in business. It's such a shame as, being so high off the ground, they are so much safer from Monsieur Le Reynard! Having said that, not all of our girls were actually inside it when he decided to pay a visit! 

The next job is to spring clean their conservatory alias the Hennery, the Hennery House inside it and lay new wood chip on the floor. This serves as their winter quarters - not that we've had any snow this year!

We are expecting our new residents in early April when Sarah at Newland Poultry is expecting another visit from us. Sarah runs a totally amazing operation and it's always a real delight to make a visit.

5 March 2017

Saturday Smugness!

Filling the gaps...
...with 2 more Laurels


A sunny start meant potting up Violas, Geranium and Petunia plugs, planting Begonias and Zantadeshcias as well as dividing and potting up Heucheras which I started back in the autumn. Friday's incessant rain meant that Saturday's planned weeding was somewhat restricted to areas that could be reached from paths so much is still left to do. We did put in a couple more Laurels to fill the gap in the hedge above the new steps in Compost Corner. We had to remove the world's biggest and most vicious dog rose - hardly ideal companion so close to a narrow footpath. Chris also put in some stepping stones between the new granite path and the Wood;and Border seat making it look just a tad more inviting!

Meanwhile, our trusty Under Gardener was busy burning mountains of last week's pear  prunings after assistance getting the fire going! By the end of the day, all tools were collected and hung up in their places and everywhere neat and tidy. Smugness all round!!


The Woodland Border is waking up!

26 February 2017

Recycling Rusty Chain




Having climbed up the tree, it's always a struggle to persuade the mature stems of clematis plants not hang precariously a couple of feet out from the tree trunk swaying dangerously in the wind. It's easy to tie with string but then it looks appallingly ugly and totally unnaturally trussed up.  I've solved this (at last) by recycling attractive lengths of of unwanted old chain. I do mean old and rusty and definitely not painted or, worse still: galvanised! I just love all this old stuff and was lucky enough to be given an old cow chain which was absolutely perfect for the job. Of course, it wouldn't be suitable for tying in the tender new brittle shoots but, it provides a ladder for their tendrils to cling on to and scramble up!

 

The chain doesn't need to be tight as its weight keeps the clematis close to the trunk. It allows movement and if necessary, can easily be removed. Against the deeply fissured bark of an old pear tree, it looks entirely at home!

Pear Pruning

..and afterwards
A Williams pear before..
A nondescript dull and drizzly day meant pear pruning. Our two dessert pear trees are quite old and it was more restoration and pruning for shape rather than high fruit yields. The straight unnatural shoots were pruned out leaving the more mature and natural branches. Having done the apples last week and struggled with the snagging tangly cuttings, we knew it was going to be even worse this week! Tangly fruit wood is always such a pain to clear up! Tidying up took far longer than the actual pruning - not just because our wonderful new path is out of bounds until the grass seed germinates and puts on a whole lot of growth but, because pear cuttings are notorious for getting snagged on anything and everything! It was a battle from the start but, we did it! The clematis on each tree was also pruned and both are held in place by strategically placed rusty chain lengths. So much more in keeping than string or wire!

Conference pear