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Witch Hazels at Swallow Hayes – a garden visit in January (part one)

OK, so January isn’t a month normally associated with visiting gardens, but Swallow Hayes is different. It’s main feature is a huge collection of Witch Hazels, more than 70 types. The day of our visit was cold – teetering on freezing point all day – and a thin mist hung low over the land made cold by the heavy overnight frost. We wrapped up warm, wandered around this garden of winter, our fingers with just enough feeling left in them to take photos.

The garden here covers just two acres but they are two packed acres. There is so much to see here in January, leaf colour and variegation, blooms with scent to delight and patterns of tree bark for the eye to capture and the fingers to explore.

Felled by wind this branch of the blue-grey Cedrus atlantica glauca shone against the debris under the tree.
Arum italicum marmoratum show leaf variegation at its best.
A clump of beautifully marked Cyclamen enjoying the shade of a conifer.
I am not a fan of conifers but I do appreciate them on dark winter days.
Delicate deep pink berries of Berberis wilsoniae.
Last year's Hydrangea flowers display structure and colour.
Sparse berries hide amongst the strongly spotted variegated foliage of this Laurel.

Tree bark adds interest in winter gardens and here at Swallow Hayes Birch and Prunus add colour and texture.

Peeling Birch bark reveals pink below the silver.
Silky smoothness in deep shades of russet .
Swallow Hayes' bees snug and safe in their hives.
A relative of the Witch Hazels, this Sycopsis was unknown to us.
Unusual white flowered Daphne
Lichen on Magnolia branches.
Fresh shining purple growth of a hellebore looks full of promise.
Fresh berries on an unusual ivy.
Startling white stems of Rubus.
Long thin Euphorbia.

By greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.