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A Woodland Garden Retreat

So here we are back on our August garden visit day with the Shropshire branch of the Hardy Plant Society. I left you as we were on our way to a woodland garden created by two of our kindred hardy planters, Joe and Wendy.

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Members had been asked to bring along some finger foods and some plants they had propagated themselves. The food was to become a tasty spread for all to enjoy – we know the hardy planters make mighty good picnics. The plants stocked a plant stall to help raise funds for the society. The picnic and the plants were tempting and looked really impressive. We were tempted into indulging in both, enjoying homemade cakes and bakes, freshly picked salad crops and peaches. Most members returned for refills at least once! We took home too many plants as well, being drawn to a deep orange crocosmia, a white flowering phlox, and a couple of plants new to us.

This combination of photos appealed to me – can you spot why?

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But, I digress, the main purpose of the afternoon was to revel in the delights of this woodland garden in Penley, a little village in north Shropshire. Joe and Wendy have created a garden that invites the gardener’s feet to follow paths around corners and through arches to discover secrets and special plantings around every corner. Joe is one of those gardeners who can name any plant presented to him and just as we expected there were labels everywhere and we will admit to needing them. There were so many plants we didn’t recognise. Joe comes to our rescue on our group outings whenever the name of a plant alludes us or we come across a new discovery.

The final pic in the next set is a plant we have only seen a couple of times before and it is a real beauty – the only yellow flowered weigela.

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Joe’s real speciality is hydrangeas and we found them throughout the 4 acre garden. Here are a few the last pic is of a new variety called “Chocolate”, named after the colour of its leaves.

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Right in the depth of the woodland we came across an opening that contained a delightful surprise, a pool with boardwalk surrounds. Grasses softened the wood and chain sculpture while splashes of colour were provided by the deep blues of agapanthus.

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But this lovely garden was far more than trees and shrubs as Joe and Wendy have found space for some fine plantings of perennials.

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We were really pleased to find this stunning plant which features in the next batch of photos. We thought it as a rudbeckia but with its deep red stems, beautiful dark foliage and such delicate flowers we didn’t know which one, but what we did know was that we needed one for our garden, imagining how well it would sit in our hot border. So I took a couple of photos and went to seek out Joe who I confidently felt would proffer its name without even having to think about it, but when I showed him the photos on the back screen of the Nikon he referred me to Wendy as she was better at the non-woody members of their garden. So off to find Wendy who looked at the photos and also looked blankly, her memory having failed her. But being organised she had a planting list for each border and we soon discovered that it wasn’t a Rudbeckia at all, it was a Heliopsis “Summer Nights”. So it is down to us now to seek it out for our hot border.

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So there we have it, a great day out in a great garden with lots of friends to share it with.

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.

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