The idea of visiting a small woodland garden with nursery and tea shop seemed a good choice for a visit on a hot, humid day. So an hour up the A49 into south Cheshire, one of our neighbouring counties, saw us pulling into the shaded grassed car park belonging to Stonyford Cottage Gardens on the edge of the Delamere Forest.
This is a garden created around a large pool surrounded by woodland through which winding paths find their way over wooden bridges and at times boardwalks. Areas of woodland plants and waterside or bog plants give places to rest and appreciate brighter colours amongst all the shades of green. Iris ensata were glowing in their waterside shaded spots, some the most intense purple possible.
The purple-leaved Forest Pansy at times took on a bronze hue. We found an unusual flowering shrub, the blooms of which perfectly matched the leaves of this shrub. Sadly neither of us could remember the name of this flowering beauty. We found it once a few years in a specialist tree/shrub nursery and almost bought it, but we were unsure of the conditions it desired. We have regretted not being tempted by it ever since, especially when we come across it in flower like this!
In the centre of the woodland a hide with seating affords us a longer stop and we took in the sounds of the stream and of birdsong.
One of the beautiful aspects of a woodland setting for a garden is the richness of the light where dappled light plays on any rich colour it finds.
And of course we finished our day relishing tea and Bakewell Tart sat out in the shade of the trees in the tea garden. Sheer luxury!! This is what we retired for!