The Dingle Gardens Welshpool – January

Here we are back visiting our chosen garden each month, with our garden for 2018 being the attached garden at The Dingle Nurseries near Welshpool. This garden is of a totally different scale, atmosphere and style to Attingham Park, our garden for 2017. The garden is open every day of the year bar Christmas Day and on odd days the fees go to the National Garden Scheme.

The nursery is stocked with perennials, shrubs and trees but specialises mostly in the last two, and it is from here that we tend to buy our trees and shrubs. This is a nursery we are delighted to have on our dooorstep. As we move through the entrance we always enjoy the displays of plants with current interest and similarly plants for winter interest and displayed in the first few rows of plants.

 

So, here we are on the 14th January with our first visit to our new garden, arriving on a dull lightly overcast day. Having never visited before this deep into winter, we entered through the wooden gate green with algae and followed the gravel paths into the garden, not quite knowing what to expect. We enjoy surprises in the gardens we visit!

Evergreens both coniferous and broadleaves lined the paths and are planted in thoughtful groupings. In the first photo a dark, glossy leaved Pittosporum “Tom Thumb” sits comfortably with a Euphorbia, a Brachyglottis and a Hebe. In the second picture two conifers illustrate how different they can be in texture, colour and form.

 

Early in our wanderings we found this lovely rustic seat which is slowly being eroded away by the weather. Close by the seat glowed the pale green flowers of a Helleborus foetidus.

 

Hydrangeas appear throughout the garden in the autumn showing their colourful inflorescences in pinks, white and blues, while throughout the winter these colours fade to biscuits, gingers and ivory. In some flowers hints of blues and pinks remain.

   

Out of season flowers appear here and there on odd shrubs, on others leaf buds promise fresh growth in the spring while berries hang as remnants of their winter harvest.

When tree surgery work is carried out in the Dingle Garden logs are left as habitats for the many forms of wildlife that maintain a healthy ecosystem in the garden.

 

At the lowest point of the gardens a calm lake affords us a place to stop awhile to look around its banks. A bog garden at one end looks dull and dark at this time of year, with just the deep brown of dead leaves of Gunnera and Lysichiton americanus rising above the mud.

Recent heavy snowfall has caused damage to trees and shrubs, breaking branches of all sizes and crushing foliage. Strong winter winds have added to the damage.

  

To share more of my photos taken during our wandering and enjoyment of the gardens at the Dingle I have created the following gallery. Enjoy the pictures. The next visit to this garden will be in February.

 

Posted in colours, garden design, garden photography, garden ponds, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, light, log piles, National Garden Scheme, NGS, nurseries, ornamental trees and shrubs, outdoor sculpture, Powis, Powys, shrubs, trees, Wales, Winter Gardening, winter gardens, Yellow Book Gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lakeside Sculpture

Shropshire’s “lake district” is situated to the south of the North Shropshire town of Ellesmere, where several meres cluster together. We have known about the sculpture trail around the largest of the meres for a time but have only recently visited and explored the trail. We took advantage of the visit of my brother Graham and his wife Vicky, who love the same sorts of days out as we do, to go to find the trail.

It was worth the wait. We wandered slowly around the lakeside finding a wide variety of sculptural pieces. Once we had parked the car and had our usual coffee and cakes, we found a few pieces in a sloping field opposite. As we entered the park alongside the lake we were treated to views of the church through the trees.

The theme of the sculpture collection was the history and life of the market town of Ellesmere. The first large piece, large enough to explore inside in fact, was based on the barges that would have plied their trade on the nearby canal. The sculpture was created from steel with cut out features in places which gave light a chance to penetrate and play with shadows.

 

The lakeside parkland held collections of mature trees which cast long shadows across any open patches of grass. We periodically enjoyed glances of the wide expanses of the mere. As we followed the gravel pathway further around the lake we discovered varied sculptural pieces.

  

We failed to fully work out the meaning and context of the first piece we discovered on the lakeside, which resembled a relief decorated shield wrapped around a pole. We studied it for a while and discussed several possible ideas but eventually walked off still baffled!

 

This huge metal bee towered over us and beneath him was a stack of logs acting as its plinth. Each piece of wood was drilled with holes making each one a home for solitary bees.

 

Large morrainic boulders were positioned close to the lakeside and on closer inspection we discovered they were homes to a small groups of bronze pieces, mostly connected to the nunnery close to the mere and other town features.

     

Moving further into natural woodland and away from the parkland, we discovered a tree-house carved from a dead tree trunk and a beautiful tall, graceful shiny metal piece. pierced with a wide hole giving views over the sparkling water.

    

Our favourite piece of all was the furthest along the walk but well worth the wait. It was called SShhh and was simply this word carved out of a single piece of wood which stood a good 6 ft tall. It was beautifully positioned in a clearing where the ground was covered in fallen autumn leaves. It looked most impressive sat beneath tall Beech trees and their long sharp shadows! It was beautiful to touch and the light fell on its cracked surfaces creating sharp shadow-lines and increased the intensity of its textures. Enjoy following the photo sequence below taken as we walked closer and closer to SShhh.

Alongside SShhh we found long trunks of old fallen trees to sit and rest upon. A seat had been carved out of one leaving a perfect resting place. We enjoyed studying the fallen leaves, with varied colours and textures. After a short rest we made our way back to the town where further pieces of sculpture awaited discovery. Unfortunately when we got back the light was going so we decided to continue our exploration of the sculpture trail at a later date.

 

Posted in autumn, autumn colours, lakes, lakes and reservoirs, Land Art, landscapes, light, light quality, ornamental trees and shrubs, sculpture, Shropshire, trees, woodland, woodlands | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ruthall Manor – well worth the wait.

We go for years intending to visit a garden but sometimes circumstances dictate otherwise. This is what happened with Ruthall Manor, a Shropshire Yellow Book Garden. After years we finally visited earlier this year in June. The wait was so worth while!

First impressions count for a lot when you visit a garden, and a good garden can quickly reveal its qualities and general level of care. Atmosphere, special places and surprises will reveal themselves later and more slowly. A good garden will keep on giving.

Ruthall Manor soon made us feel warmly welcomed and involved in the plantings and design. It had the added bonus of some original interesting sculptural pieces beautifully positioned within plantings or out on their own as centres of attention.

 

Pathways, arches and gateways encouraged us to explore further, around the next corner, through a hedge or border or into the next garden area.

    

I thought that the best way to share as many pieces of sculpture and artifacts as possible I would create this gallery for you to enjoy.  The variety of pieces was so large that we just did not now what to expect around the next corner.

In the end of course good plants well chosen, cared for and partnered thoughtfully are what gives a garden its true quality.

So Ruthall Manor was certainly worth waiting so long to go and visit. What an enjoyable afternoon!

 

Posted in garden arches, garden design, garden furniture, garden garden arches, garden paths, garden photography, garden ponds, garden pools, garden seat, garden seating, gardening, gardens, National Garden Scheme, NGS, ornamental trees and shrubs, outdoor sculpture, pathways, sculpture, trees, village gardens, water in the garden, Yellow Book Gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s in a name? Hesperantha or Schizostylis?

The beautiful Kaffir Lily doesn’t deserve the botanists playing around with its name. It is such a useful garden plant, graceful, colourful, easy, flexible and it even flowers at a time of year when few plants are doing so, from late summer through the winter. And they even make a good cut flower! Who could ask for more?

For years we have known it as Schizostylis coccinea, but in the last few years the botanists have got their claws into it and decided to call it Hesperantha. This simply confuses gardeners.

But one thing these botanists cannot do is change how beautiful they are. I hope you agree after looking at the set of photos of the cultivars we grow here at Avocet.

   

 

Posted in autumn, autumn colours, flowering bulbs, garden photography, hardy perennials | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Simply Beautiful – 15

This is the fifteenth in my series featuring simply beautiful natural things and I am going to feature an unusual looking flower as I did in the preceding “Simply Beautiful” post. This time I am going to feature a beautiful and very unusual flowering plant just as I did with the Commelina in my last “Simply Beautiful” post. The Commelina is a small delicate bulb but the plant featured here is a climber. It is Cobaea scandens, a fine climber with trumpet shaped flowers which also resemble a cup and saucer, hence its common name, the “Cup and Saucer Vine”. The colouring is difficult to describe as it has many shades of green and also purple. Check out the photos below and you will see what I mean and also see why I am featuring it in my “Simply Beautiful” series of posts.

   

 

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The Dingle Gardens Month by Month 2018

My chosen garden f0r my monthly visits in  2018 is so much smaller than Attingham Park which we enjoyed throughout 2017. The Dingle is a Nursery just over the border into Wales situated on the edge of the market town of Welshpool. The garden is accessed through a little wooden gate in the bottom left corner of the nursery where a large selection of Acer shrubs are displayed for sale. It is a garden centred around a huge collection of shrubs and trees, many unusual, growing on a gentle slope down to a lake.

The garden like ours opens at times under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme, but opens every other day of the year bar Christmas Day. I have already featured the gardens four times in my past posts. Here are a few photos to give you a taste of what we might discover during the year.

  

I hope these few photos will give you an appetite for the 12 posts to come about The Dingle in 2018.

Posted in autumn, autumn colours, garden design, garden photography, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, lakes, National Garden Scheme, NGS, nurseries, ornamental trees and shrubs, Powis, Powys, shrubs, trees, Wales, water in the garden, Yellow Book Gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Year Day at the Seaside

We try to spend New Year’s Day at the seaside for a coast walk unless the weather stops us. Sadly for the last few years the weather has done just that by throwing strong winds and heavy rains at us.

But this year, 2018, we decided we would go passing through the promised rain and under the heavy clouds and planned to reach the seaside just as the weather was forecast to clear. But we were lucky, really lucky. The rain stopped as we left home and we enjoyed a dry drive through the mid-Wales hills to the coastal university town of Aberwystywth.

I will share my photos of the day as a gallery – enjoy. We walked from the pier to the end of the promenade and back again watching the sea and sky change with every step.

So we can now carry on with the journey that 2018 will take us on. We hope that the first day of 2019 will be fine and bright just right for our next annual New Year seaside walk!

 

Posted in architecture, buildings, landscapes, light, light quality, photography, the sea, the seaside, the shore, Wales | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment