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


27 March 2016

Understanding Churchill!

An old book-like piece of slate
Mr. Perfection at work
Despite battles against the storms, high winds, coughs and colds; there has been huge progress on the greenhouse base.  There have been faux pas on all sides. Chris G. underestimated the required skip size, Chris P. was a tad out with one of the trenches and mine was probably the worst - in that I failed to make crystal clear to Dave, the exact dimensions of the wall given the lack of play on the existing electric cable! This means an underground joint will now be needed as the existing cable is far too short - GRR! So with the scores even we pressed on in spring like sunshine on Friday and vicious squalls yesterday. It's no surprise to find that Chris's brickwork dimensions are so exact and precise, it's almost breathtaking! The foundation bricks are red semi engineering bricks but above there are quite pretty replicas of old bricks. The colours vary and they exhibit quite a soft appearance which, when weathered will look even better. 
Building walls means there's flexibility for personalization! A piece of old slate was pressed into use, cut to size and engraved.  When I say engraved, the letters are a LONG way from perfect but, as a rushed job it's now legible. Scratching away with a punch meant that I lost the use of my fingers after an hour's work.  Worse still, when wet, the words just disappeared so today, I went over them with a dremmel. The lettering styles leave much to be desired but it's a record.
Weather protection for both bricks and grapevine!

I SO understand Churchill's fascination with bricklaying.  It's totally captivating and so much to learn! You'd think that piling bricks up and sticking them together with mortar would be quite easy. In fact, there's a zillion things to think of. The two types of bricks came in different sizes so the joints where they meet had to be planned.  As for keeping the entire structure perfectly upright, straight and square.........need I say more?  Yes, I do cos there's the 8 stainless steel threaded bars required by Hartley Botanic which needed even more precise spacing and placing! 

And the good news for Al? The piles of bricks and sand on the drive are getting rapidly smaller!

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