We love to break up the winter months with mid-week breaks away around the UK. In February this year we took off down to Devon for a short holiday where we planned to visit a garden which holds two National Collections, Betulas (Birches) and Alnus (Alders) and the Royal Horticultural Society’s Rosemoor Garden.
My previous couple of posts shared with you our wanderings around Stone Lane Garden and Nursery with its wonderful national collection of Betulas and Alnus. In this post we will share with you the two days we spent exploring the Royal Horticultural Society’ Rosemoor Garden.
We had visited many times before but never in winter before, so we were keen to see if the RHS’s claim that Rosemoor provides “Great days out for every season” and “Rosemoor continues to enchant visitors when the Winter and Foliage Gardens are filled with a surprisingly intoxicating combination of colour, fragrance and texture.”
After a quick coffee in the restaurant we braved the rain and began our walk around.
We made our way towards the Winter Garden which we knew had been redeveloped since we last visited so we longed to see what it looked and felt like now.
As expected foliage took a leading role.
Coloured stems and bark of shrubs and trees add strong structure to a good winter garden.
After enjoying and being highly impressed with the renovated Winter Garden, we took a gravel path which led us to the Foliage Garden. We were looking forward to seeing the role that foliage could play in the February garden. We were not to be disappointed with what we saw. Perennials and grasses played key roles with the richness of texture and the delicacy of colour. Richly coloured foliage on many shrubs joined the party.
Wherever we went we noticed evidence of the RHS gardeners and the volunteers who worked alongside them. In the Rose Garden these roses had been pruned so precisely just like illustrations in a gardening book . The soil between them had been neatly forked over to give a very professional look to the gardeners’ work.
When we returned to the restaurant for a warming coffee we noticed in the terrace outside a little wooden framed alpine greenhouse. Here we found an impressive array of flowering bulbs.
Leaving the alpine house we took meandering paths through the gardens where we noticed many early blooms that added cheer to a day of dull damp weather.
These paths took us down a gentle slope towards the lake and along the way we passed through open grassed areas where Daffodils and Narcissi had been naturalised. In neighbouring borders swathes of Snowdrops looked like frozen rivers running through shrubs and trees.
We reached the lake which looked very cold and uninviting but on its banks Cornus and Salix varieties known for their coloured stems added ribbons of very welcome brightness.
A stream fed the lake and we left the lakeside by following a path rising gently through the stream’s valley.
This valley with its clear stream ran rapidly through areas of planting. We followed the stream along a gravel path which took us to an underpass through which we wandered to find the original garden at Rosemoor, Lady Anne’s Garden. The little valley dropped down towards the underpass and we saw King Cups flowering profusely providing splashes of golden yellow and clumps of Arum italicum marmoratum gave us splashes of silver in their variegated foliage.
Seed heads and fruit from the autumn were still very much in evidence extending the season of interest.
As the valley sides rose higher the atmosphere became damper and we felt the temperature drop slightly as we got closer to the underpass. Lichen grew on trees and on fences. The white bark of Birches and the snow white blooms of Snowdrops shone through in the duller light.
We were drawn to a Betula with unusually coloured bark and were very pleased to find that it was called Betula albosinsensis “K Ashburner”, named after the owner of Stone Lane Gardens and Nursery.
Scent was held in the valley so we were constantly experiencing the rich aromas of Lonicera, Sarcoccoca and Ribes. Sweetness in the air!
We entered the underpass which would take us under the road we drove along hours before and gained access to the original garden here at Rosemoor, Lady Anne’s Garden. We will be in that part of the garden in Part 2.