The Dorothy Clive Garden in November

Our November visit to see the changing faces of this lovely Shropshire/Staffordshire border garden saw us arriving in sunshine but we were to be treated to a magnificent sky later in the day.

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The grass below our feet was wet with the heavy dew from the night hours and it sparkled and glowed in the low autumnal rays of the sun. We just knew we were in for a good day! The two signs near to where we parked up hinted at the joys of autumn we would find and also at the fact that a painting course was being held in the gardens. There always seems to be something going on here as well as the beauty of the garden itself.

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We always love the first few minutes of our visits here, when we get the first views out across the garden and get an idea of what the day may have in store for us. We immediately noticed that the Viburnum which we have never been able to identify had now lost the vibrancy of its red-purple hanging foliage and there was no sign of the richly glossy red and black berries. Instead a white feather hung to one of the last remaining leaves. Nearby in the border leading to the tea house yellow dominated, foliage of a tall Calamagrostis grass, an out of season golden yellow Phlomis whorl of flowers and the delicate seedheads of Agapanthus.

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Looking out from the tea shop through its large panoramic window we noticed the light glistening on the dew still hanging on covering the grass and the outdoor seats and tables. As I took the pics of the dew Jude the Undergardener/ Mrs Greenbench looked out from the warmth enjoying tea and cake and the beautiful seasonal table centre bouquet.

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As we re-entered the chill we noticed that the Nerine outside the cafe which we enjoyed in flower last month was parading its glossy black berries. Dew on the deeaply pleated Melianthus leaves increased their glaucous hue. The gardeners were busy cutting, taking under cover or protecting the tender plants around the cafe terrace. In the hot borders many tender perennials such as Dahlia, Salvias and Echiums were already safely put away leaving swathes of bare cold soil in their wake.

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Seed heads have darkened and the scaffolding of stems have become more skeletal during the late autumn and produced a beauty all of their own for our delectation.

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Leaves and fruit add richness and depth to the more limited November colour palette.

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Side by side two completely different plants, one an Aesculus, one a Fuchsia present the same pinkish-cream colour, the first within its leaf and the second in its faded pink flowers. Beautiful to see them side by side!

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Without a doubt my favourite family of shrubs is the deciduous Euonymus and they are always such exciting plants with unusual stems, bark, flowers and berries. Naturally I was delighted to come across this beautiful little shrub, Eouonymus alatus nana with beautiful subtle pink colouring to the autumn foliage and deep purple with orange flowers and berries.

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So our eleventh visit to Dorothy Clive was such a worthwhile, even exciting day for us with such an unusual sky event lighting up the gardens for a little while. Our next visit in December will be the final one so we will see what the year end brings to this wonderful place.

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Posted in autumn, autumn colours, colours, garden design, garden photography, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, landscapes, light, light quality, ornamental trees and shrubs, photography, Shropshire, shrubs, Staffordshire, trees | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simply Beautiful 2 – woodland light

If the light is right in the autumn and you are wandering around woodland stripes of light and shade will appear painting the woodland floor before you. Simply beautiful!

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Posted in autumn, autumn colours, colours, landscapes, light, light quality, National Trust, ornamental trees and shrubs, photography, Shropshire, The National Trust, trees, Winter Gardening, winter gardens, woodland, woodlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Southwold – a seaside town with added flair!

Southwold has been recommended to us as a seaside place worth a visit a few times so when we found ourselves just 20 or so miles away we simply had to go and see what made Southwold so special.

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We parked the car right in front of the pier as a suitable parking space presented itself and on opening the doors we were greeted by the sound of the song “The Good Ship Lollipop” being broadcast rather too loudly! This was to be the first of several surprises to come!

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The pier was full of such surprises none more impressive than the metalwork pieces along its length beginning appropriately with the gateway. To follow were seat arms of metal eels, two rather “Heath Robinsonesque” creations, a clock and a telescope.

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On the back wall of the main entrance building this huge mural is a tribute to writer George Orwell to whom Southwold was home during various periods of his life. Liz Ewing describes Southwold as “…… a place he returned to time and time again,to study, to work, to write, to paint, to fall in love and to convalesce”.

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Walking the promenade afforded wide sweeping views of long sandy beaches and looking out to sea the rather beautiful sculptural village of wind turbines.

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From the end of the pier we spotted another favourite seaside feature, a row of beach huts, for which Southwold is famous, but this is the subject of another post all about the seaside at Southwold (published 22\11\2016) . Here are a couple to whet your appetite!

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Back to search for other aspects of this interesting little seaside town that is Southwold, we wandered very slowly away from the pier towards the old town itself.

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Leaving the bright plastic of beach toys behind us we discovered these interesting little garden cameos with nautical hints, and also an inland lighthouse of all things. This strange and extremely tall building was hundreds of yards from the sea itself and hidden in the back gardens of the village cottages. Strange! You will spot it snuggled into the town centre in one of my pics below.

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After being surprised by the beauty of the pier and the beach huts were then delighted to find an equally beautiful little town.

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It appears that at one time in the past Southwold was a busy productive little settlement with its own brewery, distillery and cottage industries. Today the brewery remains integrated into the village with its premises nestled among the shops and cottages.

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There was obvious pride in this lovely little place with community spirit riding high and a very warm welcome for its visitors.

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We left the inland secrets of Southwold behind and ambled back along the promenade looking out over the beach and the sea itself, a perfect end to a day of finding a new favourite place. A great discovery!

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Posted in architecture, buildings, community gardening, the sea, the seaside, the shore, the South | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Dorothy Clive Garden – Autumnal Super Sky!

Sometimes something happens that will remain with you for ever, a fleeting moment when Mother Nature shouts out, “Hey! Look at me! Check this out!”. She puts on a great show which disappears as quickly and silently as it appeared a short few moments previously.

While following one of our slow monthly ramblings around the Dorothy Clive Garden looking at what the garden had to offer especially for this month, we were, to say the least, waylaid by the weather.

As we walked slowly down the sloping path to the lower garden and the pool, we photographed the birches, trunks pale against the deep evergreen conifers behind them.

We looked over the hedge, the garden boundary, out and across to the countryside beyond. We saw that the light was changing rapidly and dramatically lighting up the countryside. A darkness crept over the approaching clouds which became the darkest blue-grey possible. Combined with the bright shafts of low November sunlight we were suddenly surrounded by the strangest weather we could ever remember.

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The birches against their dark backgrounds lit up further. In a matter of seconds it was all magic surrounding us. The first two pics are the first pair prior to the light change, and the following three illustrate the changes those few moments in time produced.

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Just look at the subtle changes in these three photos below taken just seconds apart. Look at the light on each tree and the reflection!

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We will now share the changing scenes of a fleeting moment in time with you via a gallery of photos shown in the order I took them. Enjoy.

 

Things began to calm down as a dark cloud took over the sky once again and we enjoyed a final view from this lovely garden bench. It is strange to think that this this beautiful short passage of time which changed our view of trees and the garden in general will never be seen again. An unforgettable experience and an unrepeatable performance!

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What a special moment, a moment we will never forget. In the short time this special lighting was putting on its special personalised show for us we were so excited and couldn’t stop pointing out special moments to share.

In my next post I will share the rest of our November visit to the Dorothy Clive Garden.

 

 

Posted in autumn, autumn colours, colours, garden photography, garden ponds, garden pools, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, landscapes, light, light quality, ornamental trees and shrubs, reflections, Shropshire, Staffordshire, trees, water in the garden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simply Beautiful 1 – delicacy in the border.

Sometimes the simplest of things are the most beautiful!

Take one twig!

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Pink leaf petioles.

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A single flower from the complex head of an Hydrangea sitting on a leaf.

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I will be looking out for more such simple beauties and sharing them with you from now on. My new challenge for my Nikon lens!

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Southwold – Beach Hut Special

In this blog I will celebrate to the unique beauty and eccentric natures of the great British beach hut. Southwold situated on the Suffolk coast overlooking the North Sea is rightly famous for its huts, having a style of hut named after it and having a couple of rows adding up to a few hundred brightly coloured little “homes-from-homes”.

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The Southwold style of beach huts has a tiny veranda with wooden balustrading along their frontage. some owners now enclose the balustrade with wooden panels too.

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Let us now enjoy the colours, patterns and quirkiness of the Southwold beach huts and spot the owners’ characters as we go along!

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Crazy but Beautiful

There are certain plants that are full of interest most of the year but they usually have powerful peaks. Such a plant is Clerodendrum  trichotoma var fargesii, which we grow in our spring border. It is one of those plants with lots going for it and to recommend itself to us gardeners.

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Posted in autumn, colours, garden photography, gardening, ornamental trees and shrubs, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, shrubs, South Shropshire, village gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments