We loved our first visit to friends Richard and Anne’s home where we were treated to a tour of their wonderful, atmospheric arboretum. There is something extra special about a small arboretum, the results of one man’s vision. Richard knows every tree he has ever planted, its common name, its botanic name, its country of origin and the source of the plant or seed. The arboretum is now just 20 years old.
After a warm welcome we firstly enjoyed the lovely courtyard garden that Anne tends. It is a soft, gentle area that embraces the south facing side of the old mustard coloured mill house. Red flowered Pelargoniums with deep purple foliage filled an old stone trough beneath a brick wall clothed in soft pink roses of the climbing rose, Rosa “Open Arms”. Its scent is warm and richly fruity and remains with you as you leave it behind.
The stone paving is softened by beautiful compositions of flowers and foliage.
Richard and Anne took us across the gently sloping lawns with a boundary provided by the River Perry, and we climbed up to a gate in the fence which is the entrance to Richard’s fine collection of the finest trees. The real stars of the collection are Betulas (Birches), Acers, deciduous Euonymous and Liquidambers.
More surprising was the incredibly deeply coloured red leaved Oak, with its large deeply cut leaves and……..
……….. this unusual specimen, Pistacia chinensis commonly known as the Chinese Pistacia.
Every arboretum needs a selection of Sorbus (Rowans) to give the many coloured bunches of shiny berries, and Richard’s arboretum boasted a lovely group.
Probably my favourite deciduous shrubs are the deciduous Euonymus with their unusual flowers and bizarrely coloured berries, combining such colours as cerise and orange. Luckily for me it is also Richard’s favourite shrub and he is building up a fine collection.
Naturally what we really enjoyed most of all was seeing the wonderful selection of Birches in their autumn glory. We certainly were not to be disappointed. Jude even gave her favourite Betula a big hug – she must be turning into a tree hugger!
Of course you would be expecting me to mention the Betulas, my favourite family of trees and luckily it is Richards too and he grows alomst 180 different ones and several of his favourites.
The River Birch below is Betula nigra “Dura Heat”. This is a particularly impressive multi-stemmed specimen and although just a young tree is already showing its peeling bark giving it a shaggy dog look.
Now just enjoy my photos of a selection of our other favourites.
What a great day we had sharing Richard’s trees and enjoying his vast reserves of knowledge. We will return in the Spring.
I will just finish with two other trees we found in the second field which Richard is building up into an extension of his arboretum, an unusual Acer, a Cercidyphlum and a black berried Buckthorn, a tree we had never seen before.