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


9 September 2015

Secret Steps Garden Project!

Pam & Chris go Shopping for Stone - Again!

Site of secret steps project

Well honestly!  I ask you - how long after open gardens could I last before the next new garden project?  Answer - exactly 5 days!!  It was like this:  Chris P. and I were sculpting the Yew hedge by the mirror door and I just thought how brilliant it would be to have a secret set of steps up through the thick dark hedge linking the terrace by the 'front back door' to the stone (formerly grass) steps leading down to the pond. They would be almost completely hidden from view. Chris and Al both thought it was nothing short of genius!! We examined the Yew and found that if we pruned back the branches on 2 trees, we wouldn't need to remove any at all - BONUS! We realised that any pruning needed immediate action in order to maximise recovery time. An hour later and with the help of a pruning saw and my faithful secateurs, we had achieved a large door shaped gap in the Yew hedge. Yew being Yew means that it will grow nice green shoots and in time the bare stems and trunks will be invisible again.

Our shopping trolley!
The next issue was of course materials!  We had nuffink!  Bricks & York stone were out of the question as, on the north side of a wall, they would become dangerously slippery.  Could I do some sleuthing and find Mr. Carter - former supplier of stone with a nice 'grippy' surface and with which the top terrace was built? Yes!  I tracked him down to Far Forest (I always knew I would have made good C.I.D. material!) After a couple of calls; Chris G. and I arranged a 'Shopping Expedition' (do click on the link for this shop!) and went over to Buckridge.  We arrived home with over a ton of beautiful local stone. The only minor drawback with quarrying one's own stone is that it comes covered with a layer of silt. Having just had the drive gravelled, we didn't want to go down the power washing road a second time!  We remembered only too well the morass from last time!  
The world's cleanest stone!

As it was dry, we spent the entire afternoon with wire brushes brushing off the silt from every facet of every piece of almost 1 1/2 tons of stone.  (The photo shows only a fraction of it!) Greater love hath no gardener - or builder!!  Now, we have the world's tidiest & cleanest stack of stone all ready to be built into secret steps.  Better watch this space!

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