Late October heralds arboretum visiting time. Last year we visited Bodenham and Arley which we take a trip to most years but we also traveled a little further afield into Cheshire to the Jodrell Bank Arboretum and the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Over the last five years we have also taken trips to Westonbirt in Gloucestershire, Bluebell Arboretum in Derbyshire.
But there is one closer to us, in fact just an hour away across into Herefordshire, which we have never visited but were reminded of as we watched Carol Klein visit it on the Gardeners World TV programme. So we made up our mind that our first arboretum visit this autumn would be to Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum. It was worth the wait! Come with us as we explore its delights on a dull overcast day occasionally dampened with bouts of drizzle.
We left the car park to follow Lime Avenue which would take us to the Autumn Garden which promised us a painter’s pallet of Acers. There is something special about the gentle scent of woodlands in autumn, comforting and warming, but this was interrupted by the more aggressive unpleasant odour of foxes whose tracks crossed ours periodically as we climbed the gentle slope below the huge limes towering above us. We diverted often! There were interesting trees grabbing our attention every few yards, making progress slow. Tree silhouettes, bark textures, leaf colours, leaf shapes – all there to distract and attract.
The trees had plenty of autumnal features to attract and distract tree lovers such as Jude the Undergardener and I. Berries, peeling bark, silvered leaves, brightly coloured leaves, black branch silhouettes ……………….
When we reached the area called the “Autumn Garden” we were blown away by the collection of Acers with their striped barks, their red and yellow leaves and their sculptural trunks curling away below their leaf canopy. Part way through the Autumn Garden we found this plaque on the “Dendrology Stone” which was presented to Queenswood Arboretum in 1981 by the International Dendrology Society recognising the quality of its young trees, layout and public access. There only 19 arboretum worldwide which have received this award. This emphasises just how important this 47 acres of country park actually is.
But there was far more to see here with trees and shrubs to discover around every corner.
But let us enjoy a journey around the delights of the Acers before we get distracted further.
We enjoyed a well deserved coffee break on one of the many benches we found within the glade of Acers with a wonderful view. We sat to enjoy our coffee and listened to the Woodpeckers and Nuthatches in the tree canopy. Jays entertained us collecting up acorns, beech mast and sweet chestnuts. This is the view from the seat we chose to take our coffee break sat on. How good is that!
In part two we shall be seeking out an old orchard and the “Reader’s Seat”.