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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29 March 2013

On Good Friday last year...........

.........we were enjoying what turned out to be our short summer!  Hosepipe bans had just announced, potatoes planted and seeds sown. The soil was warm and dry beneath a hot sun and we were being warned about a summer of drought.  Garden centres had sold out of water butts as we were being told in dire tones to conserve water as reservoirs were dangerously low!

Hand dried bricks beneath the blue pavers!
This year on Good Friday, I was sitting outside with an old hair dryer plugged in to extension cable defrosting snow covered bricks and then drying them out to enable building works in the form of Staffordshire blue pavers to be laid as capping bricks around the tops of the retaining walls surrounding the contorted hazel and 'chimney conifer.'  The weather has been consistently cold with daytime temperatures barely above freezing and night time temperatures well below freezing with -8 promised tonight!  Finishing off the brickwork between the gravel and the flagstones was today's main mission with keeping warm the big challenge!  The line of blue retaining bricks holding back the gravel were laid in graceful curves and then tucked up in layers of weighted down newspapers to keep the frosts at bay while the cement dries.  I was glad to use a sledge hammer to break up old bricks for use as rubble and to try (in vain) to keep warm.

Al came back from Costco with a hybrid Magnolia Wada's Memory from Seattle.  It's a lovely specimen covered in white scented flowers.  There is absolutely no hope of planting it in the garden with this very cold spell likely to remain until well into April according to the Met Office.  It's actually sitting in the conservatory until things look up.
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