The green and rolling countryside of Worcestershire, England, is home to the cider apple orchards which surround the gardens of Pear Tree Cottage. They enjoy a sunny south westerly aspect with sweeping views across to Martley Hillside, Woodbury and 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! This began in 2010 & follows the weekly ups and downs of garden work chronicling both successes and failures but, above all, demonstrates the fun enjoyed by three people who regularly garden in all weathers


28 July 2010

Summer Jobs

It's that time of year when all the hedges need cutting as does all the Yew topiary so..... that's exactly what's been happening at PTC.  Doesn't sound like much of a job but 3/4 of an acre's boundary  hedge - both sides, plus various yew topiarised hedges plus formal Yew topiary plus Box hedging around the well plus random Leylandiis plus Cotoneaster border balls!  I promise 'Yew' (sorry!) it's a lot of work!!  The clearing up takes almost as long as the sculpting!  Three Saturdays and a Sunday afternoon have whizzed past in a flash!  Good job it's only once a year!

Then there was the newly restored stone wall border.  Having got Lavender fixed firmly in my mind, Chris was duly consulted.  Quite independently, he too said quite firmly, 'Lavender!'  We then worked out how many plants would be needed to plant the length of the stone wall surrounding the Summer House and arrived at the figure of 50 plants.  Whilst attempting to estimate the cost, Chris said, 'I'll just go and get them from the truck.'  Knowing I must have misheard him, I asked him to repeat himself - twice in fact!  Unbelievably, he produced a bag of Lavender plants of the deepest royal purple with masses of root and there were more than enough for our purposes! Anyway, we can't wait for the plants to mature and tumble over the top of the stone wall! (Photo to follow) Chris does have a habit of producing amazing items from the depths of Mabel.  He has previous for boxes of chocolates, bottles of wine, plants, horticultural antiquities - even the odd bottle of champagne!  

Other jobs have included removing the Azara from the pond side as too much root had died off.  This has been replaced by a Blue Ice conifer - no leaves to drop into the pond either!

The chickens have been busy doing their bit and despite making more work for us by continually scratching the gravel onto paths and wood chippings on to the grass, they're eating all the slugs and snails which, hitherto have plagued us.  Most days we find 4 eggs and they are now quite tame always coming at the run  (well it's a cross between  running and flying) when called!

All the recent rain has meant that the brown grass has now greened up and is growing a pace.  Growing grass means mowing grass!  The gourds took over the entire county so after picking a trug full, they had to be removed.  The row of Celeriac now has sufficient light to grow.  Most of the Arran Pilots have now been eaten, as have all of the broad beans and lettuces (more seed now sown).  The sweet peas from last year's saved seed are blooming well and the scent is wonderful.  The Trachelospermum Jasmine is laden with bloom and the air is heavy with perfume.  The runner beans have been plagued with blackfly but, having now been sprayed, are beginning to put on more healthy growth.  I reckon we should find a meal in the next 2 or 3 days - not before time!  Winds have meant that the Jerusalem artichokes really needed their canes.  Onions and carrots are thriving, as are beetroot.  

Believe it or not, a couple of mornings have just the vaguest autumnal feel but maybe only a gardener would notice!

Whilst all this has been happening, there have been major stirrings in the kitchen!  A garden blog isn't the place to discuss detail but suffice to say that it will be farewell to the old Rayburn as a new AGA is being delivered in 14/15 September.  This of course means an entirely new kitchen/units/floor/lighting/etc.  Best place to be is...

                                                        the garden!!

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