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


8 September 2013

Acer Pollarding.........a little late!

A sorry looking Acer
We have this dear old Acer.  It's a variegated variety, name unknown but a much loved resident along the Fernery path.  The trouble is, it was originally planted much too close to other trees (one of which has since died) and as a direct result it was very one sided with weighty crossing branches which had been striving to reach light.  A good 80% had reverted but it is an otherwise healthy but misshapen and very unbalanced with most of the weight overhanging and touching the hedge.  We didn't want to pollard it prior to open gardens in June so, we took a very deep breath and did it on Saturday.  To add to our problems: as well as adding shade for the Fernery, it hides (or rather hid) an electricity pole and transformer.  Luckily another mature tree stands behind the pole, but for which would now be highlighted or rather silhouetted against the skyline along with the myriad of other overhead wires which blight our lanes and countryside.  Well, the deed is now done and we can only hope that it throws out new growth quickly.  We have left younger growth to help draw up the sap (and to partially disguise overhead wires!) I know that pruning Acers in the spring is not advised as they can bleed and that, if it has to be done at all, it should be in summer.  We are advised that autumn is not a good time either due to the possibilities of fungal spores entering through the cuts so, let's hope we are not too late and that we have the predicted Indian summer!

What's missing?
It meant, what seemed like 85000 journeys dragging big old heavy branches down the road to the bonfire in order to burn the brash and log up the larger branches. We certainly kept our very own resident pyromaniac busy and I may just be exaggerating the number of journeys!  Other weekend jobs included the removal of 2 conifers which had outgrown their spaces in front of the conservatory and, funnily enough, they have not been missed in the slightest. The Hebes and remaining Lavenders were also sculpted into cushion shapes and the Marjoram, which had all finished flowering was cut back.  I do find that this helps them keep a nice dense and compact shape.

I had also had a good sort out in the greenhouse before Chris arrived.  Old tomato plants which had finished fruiting were disposed of as were the dreaded and useless specimens of Geraniums from Vernon Specialist Geraniums.  They were without doubt the worst specimens I've ever seen or attempted to grow. There is at least room for less hardy's if we have any early frosts (shudder!)

Al at work
Woodbury rising above the drifting smoke

All in all, things were looking surprisingly tidy by the end of the day - as the smoke from Al's bonfire drifted low and hung in the valley beneath a pretty biblical cloud formation.
More photos at:

We won't mention what happened to Chris when pouring his beer in the kitchen but I did send him the photos!!

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