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Three Winter Gardens – Part Three – Anglesey Abbey

This, the third in my series of three posts looking at winter gardens, sees us at the most well known of all winter gardens, Anglesey Abbey.

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Situated near Cambridge within the larger gardens and grounds of this National Trust property the winter garden here is often considered to be the best of all and a big influence on all others that follow. We shall look at further aspects of the gardens at Anglesey Abbey in future posts.

We visited the winter garden at Anglesey Abbey many years ago the first year it was open to the public so it was like meeting an old friend but one who has changed a lot in the intervening years.

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This set of gates welcomed us as we arrived at the start of the winter plantings.

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We soon met the friends we had seen in our other two winter gardens, the dogwoods, rubus and willows grown for their stem colour underplanted with hellebores and ivies. There was some wonderful pruning techniques on display here too.

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Grasses featured strongly with their wonderful warm colours and strong structural shapes.

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We were once again interested to see which plants the gardeners from Anglesey Abbey used as ground cover to help reduce weed growth. Various low growing grasses teamed up with Arum and Bergenias to perform this role.

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All these plants acting out their roles as ground covering plants encouraged us to look down as we were seeking ideas for our allotment Winter Garden, but we were struck also by specimens higher up.

The Viburnum pictured below didn’t just look good it smelled sweetly too. The Pulmonaria has not just flowers of two colours but unusual foliage to catch the eye.

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The fresh foliage of the Cercis had leaves of a delicate bronze which was a strong contrast to the much more brash reds of the Photinia “Red Robin”.

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The white bark of the trunks of Betula utilis although now used in every winter garden still deserve to be centre stage. Here at Anglesey Abbey some had been “dressed” in bright colours for added humour.

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This golden stemmed ash is rarely seen in gardens but in the winter its black pyramidal buds strongly contrast with the golden stems. It is one of those plants that are simply too big for the average garden but when space allows it can be really attractive.

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I have concentrated so far on the attributes of individual plants but we need to see how they fit in to the whole to fully appreciate their impact and the atmosphere of this amazing winter garden.

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We entered the winter borders through interesting sculptural gates and we left through another. A quick look over the shoulder gave us a final chance to appreciate this brilliant garden.

So there we leave the series of three posts concerning winter gardens. Although Dunham Massey is the newcomer it looked good against the other two, but in the end it has to be said that the “original” winter garden at Anglesey Abbey remains my firm favourite.

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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.

2 replies on “Three Winter Gardens – Part Three – Anglesey Abbey”

It’s amazing how much color and interest you can achieve with stems and bark…. the flowers are nice too, but the use of stem colors really impresses me. All of a sudden I’m really excited for my new red twig dogwoods!

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