The Dorothy Clive Garden in February

We returned to the Dorothy Clive Garden for our second visit of the year. In January we walked around the gardens with snow on the ground and we had to wrap up warm against the cold winds. For our February visit we left home with dark grey skies overhead and a slight drizzle in the air but the closer we got to the garden the better the weather became. Patches of blue sky appeared and the clouds turned ever paler. The temperature had reached 15 degrees Centigrade as we parked the car and made our way to the cafe for the obligatory coffee and cake essential for a successsful garden visit. Our visit was going to have an added dimension as there was an activity day for children all to do with wildlife and the natural world. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Wildlife Trust were there as well as a bird of prey group. Children were given the chance to make bird boxes, bird food cakes and to handle skulls of native mammals. There was also a quiz sheet and a trail for them to enjoy.

2016 02 21_8928 2016 02 21_8930

As we walked from the car park to the cafe the first photo I took was of a view that in January was simply snow with a few evergreen shrubs rising up. Around the next curve of the path we noticed that a new project was in hand (see right hand picture below). The area had been cleared of old untidy evergreens which were well past their best. The area has already been leveled and large blocks of local sandstone await close by. We look forward to watching this develop over the coming months. The plant sales table looked much better without its covering of snow.

2016 02 21_8931 2016 02 21_8932 2016 02 21_8933 2016 02 21_8934

On the lawn outside the restaurant we were enthralled by getting up close to some beautiful owls and falcons. After enjoying our coffee and cakes we took off to walk towards the Quarry Garden, passing a border dotted with tiny pale blue flowering bulbs. As we entered the Quarry we noticed a family making nest boxes.

2016 02 21_8939_edited-1 2016 02 21_8935_edited-1 2016 02 21_8940_edited-12016 02 21_8941 2016 02 21_8942

The Quarry garden was much greener without its snow blanket and early flowering bulbs  were adding colour allied with Hellebores in full flower and a few blooms on Rhododendrons and Azaleas.

2016 02 21_8943 2016 02 21_8944 2016 02 21_8945 2016 02 21_89482016 02 21_8962 2016 02 21_8971 2016 02 21_8952_edited-1

The textures and architectural shapes of trees come to the fore in winter before the leaves return in the spring. Unusual foliage such as the Rhodendron with orange-ginger undersides to its leaves provide brightness under the shade of taller trees. The upper side of the leaves are glossy but the underside have a matt, powdery feel to them. Close up it gives them the look of a windswept desert landscape.

2016 02 21_8946 2016 02 21_8964 2016 02 21_8965

Leaf shapes and their patterns and textures provided added interest under the tree canopy.

2016 02 21_8949 2016 02 21_89502016 02 21_8967 2016 02 21_8968

We wandered around a bit trying to find the stag sculpture we found in January and kept getting the wrong path. When we did find him he looked much more majestic without his white coat of snow. We then moved off towards the new Winter Woodland Garden, which is a juvenile garden having been created in early 2015. It already looks and feels a really good seasonal garden, with many shrubs and trees with coloured stems and bark, evergreen groundcover such as Bergenia, several different Carex and Luzula many with striped or golden leaves. Flowering bulbs were putting on an excellent show for us.Ggiven a few years and this will be a beautiful woodland winter garden and will be one of the best close to us so will become a place we visit often.

2016 02 21_8969  2016 02 21_89722016 02 21_8966  2016 02 21_8976 2016 02 21_8977 2016 02 21_8978 2016 02 21_8979 2016 02 21_8982 2016 02 21_8983 2016 02 21_8985 2016 02 21_8986 2016 02 21_8987 2016 02 21_89882016 02 21_9001_edited-1 2016 02 21_8981_edited-1          2016 02 21_8984_edited-1 2016 02 21_8980_edited-1 2016 02 21_8973_edited-12016 02 21_8975_edited-1

We left the Winter Garden by walking under the Laburnum arch still devoid of any growth and enjoyed a wander through the Upper Garden where trees and shrubs reigned supreme. A shy sculpture maiden welcomed us.

2016 02 21_9005_edited-12016 02 21_8954_edited-1 2016 02 21_8957_edited-1 2016 02 21_8953_edited-1  2016 02 21_9011_edited-1 2016 02 21_9013_edited-1 2016 02 21_9025_edited-1 2016 02 21_9026_edited-12016 02 21_9033_edited-1

Having indulged in the powerful scent of this delicately coloured pink Daphne we followed a path that led us around the front of the coffee shop and then down the sloping gardens  to the pool.

2016 02 21_9027_edited-1  2016 02 21_9035_edited-1

Species tulips demanded a close look to appreciate their beauty and delicacy.

2016 02 21_9036_edited-1 2016 02 21_9051_edited-12016 02 21_9038_edited-1 2016 02 21_9039 2016 02 21_9042_edited-1 2016 02 21_9045_edited-1

Can you spot the bee at work collecting pollen from the blue crocus? Great to see this.

2016 02 21_9046_edited-1 2016 02 21_9048_edited-1 2016 02 21_9049_edited-1 2016 02 21_9050_edited-1  2016 02 21_9055_edited-1 2016 02 21_9061_edited-1

So that was our February visit to the wonderful Dorothy Clive Garden. We can’t wait to be back with camera in hand to see what March will bring, perhaps a few touches of spring!


About greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.
This entry was posted in flowering bulbs, garden design, garden photography, gardening, gardens, gardens open to the public, hardy perennials, ornamental trees and shrubs, outdoor sculpture, sculpture, shrubs, spring bulbs, Staffordshire, trees, Winter Gardening, winter gardens, woodland and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Dorothy Clive Garden in February

  1. It always amazes me that you can visit a garden in February and see color. Beautiful. The owls are amazing. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Engaging set of images. Thanks.

  3. BeckyHelps says:

    Now that might just be a great place to visit, when up that way I hope my memory jogs to pop in and take tea.

Comments are closed.