Whenever we have friends and family staying with us we take them to our favourite places, usually gardens, arboreta or special patches of countryside and of course to our favourite coffee shop with the biggest most luscious cakes. If it is late summer or early autumn then we often share with them the delights of the Dorothy Clive Garden. So in September we took my brother, Graham and sister-in-law Vicky to share in the box of delights.
The garden began as a woodland garden set in a deep dell, but as the years went on it spread outwards so now much of the garden is on a gentle slope down from the dell. The dell features huge mature trees and below them plants typical of shaded places rhododendrons, azaleas and ferns.
After half an hour in the tea shop our first port of call was the sheltered area close by, sheltered enough to allow the gardeners to take brave decisions and grow Tetrapanax, amongst other plants grown for their interesting foliage. The gardeners at this garden are masters at the art of “right plant right place”. The enclosed space here was so sheltered that tender plants thrived, including one of my favourite plants Tetrapanax. We can’t risk it in our garden with its cold wet winters. I love the texture and colour of the stems – softly furry and gingery orange – and the shape and texture of the huge palmate rough leaves.
Another of the big leaved plants growing here in the damper areas are the Rogersias, with several different varieties thriving in the shade.
We left the sheltered garden taking a path beneath a tunnel featuring some delicate sculpture and neatly trimmed box balls.
As we left the covered walkway we discovered another large-leaved architectural plant, the Onopordum, with silvery jagged leaves and stems with spikes all along their edges adorned atop by similarly spiky flowers. The Goldfinches will love them when they burst!
A new feature in this old favourite garden was an edible woodland garden. We were excited about seeing it and our anticipation was rewarded. This little shaded area under mature trees was full of atmosphere and interesting features.
We were impressed by the great insect hotels and the amazing wooden fencing found within the plants of the edible garden.
After this we wandered off along the meandering soft grass paths around the mixed borders. Enjoy them with us.
Part of the way round our border wanderings I spotted these lovely old chestnut gates and fences at the entrance to the kitchen garden.