Welcome back to Stone Lane Garden in Devon for part three of the report of our visit.
We continued our meanderings along the grass, wood chip and gravel paths through the woodlands that are home to the incredible National Collections of both Betulas and Alnus.
Ken Ashburner owner and gardener at Stone Lane collects seeds and plants on his plant hunting travels, so when he plants a grove of a variety there are lots of interesting variations to enjoy.
Betula albosinsensis varies widely with its shades of white or silver with added tints of oranges and pinks.
The selection of Betula albosinensis given the name “China Rose” is a particular beauty. The white sign in the photos tells visitors that this particular Betula is available in the nursery which is part of the garden. A great idea!
A sudden and very short-lived patch of blue sky passed over the towering old native Birches emphasising their beautiful skeletal winter forms.
Gardens are great places to site sculpture and it was good to see plenty as we followed the narrow path through the woodlands that led us back to the garden’s gate.
These tall thin pale stems of a herbaceous plant appeared as a delicate piece of sculpture and where they fell they created a drawing on the woodland floor.
We crossed the narrow stream by a narrow wooden bridge made slippery by mosses and algae. From the bridge we looked down into the little stream’s bank side and noticed King Cups already in full flower, looking like golden coins shining against their deep glossy green foliage.
The dampness and shade of the woodland makes it a place favoured by lichen, fungi and mosses.
We came across an Alder that had been felled and were drawn to the brightly coloured surfaces exposed by the saw.
As we spotted the gate which would end our exciting visit we were drawn to bright orange blooms on a shrub in the distance. Once we got closer we knew it had to be a Berberis and we were right. It looked luminous in the dull afternoon light. A delicate pale pink Geranium close by was much harder to find.
We had spent a really interesting day at Stone Lane Garden that was full of the delights of our favourite trees the Betulas. We left determined to find space for a few more at home. The following two days we planned to spend at the amazing RHS Rosemoor Garden. See you there!