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



Fantastic Mr. Fox

Over Christmas 2006 and during a period of great building activity, we took delivery of a friend’s old oil tank just like the one in the picture! We were, of course expecting an empty oil tank.  We weren’t even suspicious when the friend, not only offered to deliver it but, arrived the very following day with armies of muscle to unload it.  Al endured its presence in the drive for several days – next to the skip, next to the rubble, next to the builders’ sand, next to the concrete mixer, next to the pallets of bricks…………….sigh!  

After Christmas, Al had a little grumble about an oil tank taking up his car space.  So, in freezing temperatures on the darkest day of the winter with a biting East wind, work began.  Chris drilled a hole in the lowest corner in order to drain out the expected miniscule residue of oil into an old petrol can!  Hmph! We then resorted to filling every available empty wine bottle (well we’d managed to empty a few over Christmas!) we then filled 11 buckets and still the oil continued to flow.  A 50 gallon drum was sent for, courtesy of one's son: Greg who was driving an automatic Range Rover alone and for the first time.  An anxious wait followed but the drum eventually arrived - and, was completely filled!  Moving a now full 50 gallon (and immensely heavy) drum was no mean feat and we managed to wheel it to a discreet corner for future use.  The mess and chaos on the drive was indescribable!  Luckily Al was working during this fiasco and didn’t return until the big clear-up was well under way!  Having cut up the tank, we were able to store the panels flat in hardly any space at all.  


Pin up for the grils

Work on the first panel started quite soon as one felt obliged to prove what actually could be done with pieces of rusting metal.  After a few minutes with a piece of chalk and Chris's skill with a jig-saw; the rest is, as they say: history.  The outcome, so far, is two foxes: Ferdinand (running) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (pouncing) and a rather thug-like owl called Wol.  Since 2007, Chanticlere the cockerel was born out of the same tank and guards the northern gate.  A hare was added beneath Fantastic Mr. Fox – as his dinner!  Other animals lie in wait as we still have some panels left over!

Since this page was written, Wol moved house and now lives up in the old pear tree. Chanticlere was promoted to the Hen Pen gate - a pin-up for the girls! See Chicken Wars and All round Bird Changes: