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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16 January 2018

Barking up the Bright Tree!

Betula utilis jacquemontii
Betula utilis jaquemontii
Betula utilis Snow Queen

Just when we're desperate for something to brighten up the garden on a long winter's day, Mother Nature comes up with a solution! In this case, it's good old fullproof/growanywhere/tolerateallweathers silver birches! However, they do have a downside. They are without doubt the messiest trees in the garden. They drop huge quantities seeds everywhere and those dropped seeds germinate everywhere - pots, gutters, cracks and crevices - you name it. The wind blows great mounds of seeds by the tool shed and they also drop twigs everywhere. These faults are tolerated for their bark colour, their catkins in spring, their buttery golden yellow leaves in autumn and their graceful habit.

Betula pendula

As well as having several of the common European Betula pendula in the garden, we also have a Betula utilis jaquemontii and a Betula utilis Snow Queen. The advantage of these newer varieties is that they are faster growing and their bark turns a more silvery white at a much earlier age then the older common European versions.  Others have a brown bark which only turns silver at 10 years plus.  At our age we need instantaneous bark colour!!
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