Back at Stone Lane we continued wandering along the grass paths which were so soft underfoot. We enjoyed discovering more and more Birches with beautifully coloured and textured bark and fine winter silhouettes plus the odd Alder and pieces of sculpture.
Alnus barbata diplayed bark as rough and fissured as the skin on the legs of an old elephant.
At the furthest end of the woodland garden we found wildlife ponds and two interesting shelters. On the far bank of one of these ponds we spotted two geese and it was only as we approached closely did we realise they were in fact sculptures. Their wings were decorated with simple line drawings of flowers.
The second shelter proved to be a total mystery. We couldn’t work out what it had been used for in the past or in present times. It looked as if it had wheels at one time. We thought it may have been a poultry house but today it seemed to be a bird hide.
It sat beneath a stand of Alnus glutinosa, which were already showing young catkins bursting from buds.
Alnus hirsuta was showing new fresh foliage rather than catkins.
Back to a Betula – Betula maximowicziana, a real tongue twister of a name, had striated bark in delicate shades of pink and ginger. Fine strips of its bark peeled back in almost vertical lines.
We found a beautiful place for a rest and coffee break, a wooden rustic shelter surrounded by Birches. A stone and mosaic birdbath stood close by and a pink flowered Azalea provided restful colour. Looking straight ahead from where we sipped our coffee we enjoyed a view of more Betulas, of which we cannot get too many.
Now just enjoy coming with us as we wander along grass tracks and gravel pathways discovering the huge varieties of Birches in Ken Ashburner’s amazing collection.
Naturally there were many other plants of interest as well as the Birches and Alders we came to see.
We were delighted to find a stand of Betula utilis ssp. jacquemontii “Snowqueen”, as we have a beautiful trio of these pure silvery-white barked trees. They have an ethereal quality about them. We open our blinds each morning and our silver trio delight us every day whatever the weather and whatever the light is shining on them.
To finish part two of our posts about Stone Lane please enjoy another set of pics to illustrate the vast variations in our favourite trees, the Betulas.