Pam Thompson, Winner of Nation’s Favourite NGS Garden

Were you an enthusiastic gardener before you moved to Pear Tree Cottage? 

Growing up on a farm, and with a father and grandfather who were both keen gardeners, the template seems to have been set early in life for Pam to become an enthusiastic gardener, in due course.  As Pam says, “it’s in the genes”. 


Does your family share your passion? 

Pam says that her ex-surgeon husband, Alistair, is enormously encouraging about the results that she and Chris, the gardener who works with her each Saturday afternoon, achieve, but they agree that he isn’t really a gardener. Incredibly helpful when things like compost need moving, it must be said, and incredibly complimentary about the outcome!  


Which would you say are your favourite and least favourite parts of your garden?

Without a doubt, the area of the garden at Pear Tree Cottage that Pam is most fond of is the woodland border, and she recommends we check her blog to catch up with its evolution over the past 12 years. Do have a look:

Along with many of us, her least favourite patch is the crop of bindweed that needs constant attention in the raspberry bed. Always in mind for Pam is that it only needs as little as 1/16” of bindweed root to be left in the soil for a whole new plant to happily pop up. It’s a challenge, but Pam and Chris are perpetually vigilant, and enjoy the fight.  

If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change about your garden?

Pam has four much-loved Wisteria at Pear Tree Cottage, three of which are beautiful, mature, gnarled, and twisted specimens, the eldest about 50 years old and about 70 yards long. If she could wave a magic wand, Pam would love to make the newest of the four, a Japanese Wisteria only planted the year before last, instantly mature and twisted and gnarled.  

wisteria at pear tree cottage

Which gardens and gardeners do you particularly admire?

There are two beautiful gardens that immediately spring to mind for Pam, and both are in Herefordshire. First, she absolutely has to mention Stockton Bury Garden, which Pam has known for several decades, since before it was really a garden. Pam used to work with Tamsin Westhorpe’s aunt, so is pretty sure she would have remembered a toddling Tamsin (writer and gardener, and one-time Editor of English Garden Magazine) there at some point. 

The other is the much-admired garden at Bryan’s Ground, also in Herefordshire, which Pam is delighted to have been able to visit just a fraction before the owners sold it. The garden is attached to a beautiful Art and Crafts, Lutyen’s designed house, and when Pam managed to visit by the skin of her teeth last May, she immediately fell in love with the place. It was a glorious May Day, the birdsong was astonishing – from someone who is used to being surrounded by birdsong, that is a remarkable thing to notice – and Pam describes it as “glorious” and “magical”. She kept having to revisit areas of the garden before the visit ended as she found it all so very lovely. 

Find Stockton Bury Garden at  

Sadly, the garden at Bryan’s Ground is not currently open to visit. As for gardeners she admires, Pam simply says that she finds Bunny Guinness “very sensible”. 

Is there a garden tip you would like us to pass on, or a piece of advice you are glad someone gave you?  

The area of the garden at Pear Tree Cottage that receives most comments, and the idea that most people say they will take away with them, is Pam’s method for storing flowerpots, which is on their sides in some re-purposed old guttering. As she says, invariably, when pots are in vertical stacks, the one you most need will be in the middle or at the bottom of that stack. With old cast-iron guttering attached to the side of a shed, Pam can store her pots tidily, and easily access exactly the right sized pot incredibly quickly. What a superb idea!

pam blog pots

When did you become aware of the National Garden Scheme?  

The National Garden Scheme is something Pam feels she has almost always known about, but says she never imagined having a garden that was nice enough, which is something so many NGS garden openers think, modest bunch that they are. 


Most of the time, Pam gardens (very happily, I should add) alone, but every Saturday afternoon for almost the last 17 years she has worked alongside a gardener called Chris. Chris’ enthusiasm, and his objective eye, mean she frequently gets to appreciate the garden in a fresh way. About 10 years ago Chris encouraged Pam that she should maybe consider including her garden in the local village opening. From that, the next step was through a close friend who already opened for the NGS persuading her that her garden was almost certainly suitable for the National Garden Scheme. With the winning of this award, it is hoped she now recognises that lots of people think the garden at Pear Tree Cottage is most definitely ‘nice enough’!  

The garden at Pear Tree Cottage, Wichenford, Worcester opens for the National Garden Scheme on and Sunday 28 August (evening) this year, and details are available at

pam, pear tree cottage

What structures do you rely on in your garden? 

The most important garden structures Pam uses at Pear Tree Cottage, other than a superb, bespoke, moveable bean tunnel, are the strong, metal half-round plant supports placed throughout the floral borders. Used in almost every area, with always an urgency to get them in position in time, they often become invisible at the height of the growing season whilst doing their vital work. She sees the plastic-coated, flimsy alternatives a disappointment, and a false economy.

What will you use your £100.00 Agriframes winners’ voucher for?  

Pam has opted for a set of rustic obelisks, which she says are rather “too nice to cover”. 

elegance obelisks

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