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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12 January 2019

Border Patrol!

I was meant to be catching these, NOT taking photos!
Making a start
Tome to clear the Woodland Border, trim off all last year's hellebore leaves, clear out encroaching ivy, and cut back dead/dying ferns.  Guess what we found! Yes! Hellebores coming into flower and snowdrops just peeping through the soil!!  Chris found the odd clump of snowdrops hidden behind the old pear tree so we moved them where they can be appreciated and admired.

Progress!

Ta dah!!
Having finished that, it was time to start on both Well Steps Borders. Major ivy clearance and deadheading.  It's all very well for these erudite gardeners to advise dead heading in spring and lecturing on how magically pretty dead heads look when covered in frost with the sun low in the sky.  The thing is, with a damp, dull and dank winter, they just look blackened and soggy as they rot!

9 January 2019

WWW...........Warm Winter Work!!


Having begun the annual fern clear up down in the Fernery, it was time to warm up with a bonfire and a major tidy up. The wood ash is mixed in with the compost and we also top dress raspberries and fruit trees with it. The bracken is used as a duvet on the arum lilies to keep the frost off them and ensure they survive the winter. Hopefully the weather will hold and we can finish this job and clear the ever encroaching ivy from around both the ferns and Hellebores.


I know may people have snowdrops in bloom so I went on a hunt for ours. After an intensive search, I found a few just peeping through!!  Hellebores are also just pushing up so it's time to remove all last years leaves. Who says gardening stops in winter???

30 December 2018

Cobra Leaves Leaves!

The girls setting off on slug patrol
Honda - leaves hoovered up.

Two days without rain AND the sun came out!!  Time to get out lawn mowers, raise up the blades and top the grass! Two different mowers used - the Honda is really good at picking up and chopping up leaves whereas, the Cobra always leaves leaves behind!!! 

The chickens enjoyed a box of fresh grass clippings before going out on slug patrol for half an hour. I even edged the lawns and was far too hot in a fleece in December!! 



Cobra - leaves remained.

22 December 2018

PAINTING TREES!

Before



As if shampooing and blow drying trees wasn't enough, now we've taken to painting them - thus guaranteeing a white Christmas!!
During

It's a very continental arboreal approach and is done to reflect the sun's heat to prevent bark damage. Whilst our trees never suffer from sunburn, we all agreed that it might look quite striking if we experimented on the Aspens. Thanks to Chris G., we used his own Genever Patent Tree Paint!! Guaranteed not to harm, not to flake and will move with the bark. As the girth of the Aspens increase and, with future coats, so will the overall effect. When all the snowdrops beneath are in bloom, we think it should look even more striking. It certainly looks very ghostly at night!!



More progress
It's a white-out!

21 December 2018

WinterTrees

A local Oak


A few of the trees featured in my Winter Trees Week! The Hazel catkins can't wait for spring and when you look at them, I sometimes wonder: who needs leaves!!









Hazel catkins
Birches in the garden

A Week of Winter Weather!

Our resident glass woodpecker
in a Betula jaquemontii!
On the run up to Christmas, the pretty foul weather hasn't allowed much gardening so I've been doing a Week on Winter Trees with a different tree featured each day on FB. Hopefully tomorrow, it will be dry enough to prune the holly and use the prunings in the house and gather up the last remaining leaves.  Soon it will time to prune the apple trees and then the pears.  It's heartening to realise that today is the longest day and that from now on, the days will start to lengthen again.

On the odd sunny day, the bare trees are looking lovely in the low light. I think I like their skeletal forms even more than leaf canopies!  Well, I say that until spring!

Winter solstice moon rising over the cider apple orchards

2 December 2018

Shampooing and Rescuing Trees!!

The O'Leary Pieris
Head Gardener has been off duty for a week and has been exploring gardens in foreign parts!  This week, it was back to work as usual and first on the agenda was to rescue the O'Leary Pieris which blew over in high winds.  It was planted down in the Sofa Border and looks a treat.  It now has much more room and should really thrive. Sadly, the beautiful pot was beyond redemption - sigh!


Caught shampooing trees!

I got a lot of flack from Chris when he spotted me with a bucket of soapy water, brush in hand scrubbing the thick green algae off silver birches!  OK maybe I should get out more! As if I wasn't bad enough, he then gave them a blow dry with the leaf blower!  Shampoo and blow drying trees!! I ask you!!

Joking aside: at this time of year when the sun is low in the sky, they look absolutely dazzling now that they're free of all the green algae which had collected on the bark.  Worth doing as they're on full view when standing at the kitchen sink!! One is a Silver Queen and the other two are Jacquemontii's.  Well worth the trouble despite all the banter!!

Chris being just as bad!

12 November 2018

Two Gossips Arrive to Inspect Conifer Trimming!

The Two Gossips!
Distant Malvern Hills
We found these two loitering on the drive following a surprise sneaky delivery obviously under the cover of darkness on Friday!  Al's named them 'The Two Gossips' and, for now, they're gossiping over the old garden roller. They move to the Herb Garden - time will tell.

As well as the usual leaf clearing, Saturday's work included conifer trimming. Lugging leaves is somewhat never ending at this time of year but it's a nice job and hardly heavy work. The leaf mould pile is continuing to grow too!

Conifer trimming means ladders are needed. I know my place and am found holding them steady at the bottom with everything droping on me! This time, Chris took some sneaky shots from the top! When it was finished we were covered in bits of conifer but the hedge is looking awfully smart! Well done Chris!

Sneaky Chris!
Letting go to take the photo!



6 November 2018

Dahlia Mission.

Labelled and packed
Lifting tubers
Another lovely mild autumn day and a swapped day for a visit from Chris. Work started on cutting down, lifting and labelling the blackened and frosted Dahlias. We were both a picture of quiet efficiency! Chris used petrol to clean off ink from old labels - another clever Pugh recycling plan! New labels were written and tied on the stalks of each tuber.
Just 4 weeks earlier.
 The tubers were carefully lifted, soil removed and laid out in fruit trays and, after 'a certain amount' of re-organisation down in the 'General Stores', placed carefully in storage for winter.  In this garden, it's just too cold and wet to leave them in the ground and mulch over and prize winning Dahlias are worth looking after!! When you look at the photos, it's amazing what stunning blooms are produced by a few ugly old tubers!

All finished and looking tidy!
That being done, it was time to fork over the soil with some added bone meal and chicken pellets then plant out the other Chris's Sweet William plants before a sweep and tidy up. As we finished, the mist cleared and the sun came out.  It's now looking a-w-f-u-l-l-y smart down by the tool shed!