Our November visit to see the changing faces of this lovely Shropshire/Staffordshire border garden saw us arriving in sunshine but we were to be treated to a magnificent sky later in the day.
The grass below our feet was wet with the heavy dew from the night hours and it sparkled and glowed in the low autumnal rays of the sun. We just knew we were in for a good day! The two signs near to where we parked up hinted at the joys of autumn we would find and also at the fact that a painting course was being held in the gardens. There always seems to be something going on here as well as the beauty of the garden itself.
We always love the first few minutes of our visits here, when we get the first views out across the garden and get an idea of what the day may have in store for us. We immediately noticed that the Viburnum which we have never been able to identify had now lost the vibrancy of its red-purple hanging foliage and there was no sign of the richly glossy red and black berries. Instead a white feather hung to one of the last remaining leaves. Nearby in the border leading to the tea house yellow dominated, foliage of a tall Calamagrostis grass, an out of season golden yellow Phlomis whorl of flowers and the delicate seedheads of Agapanthus.
Looking out from the tea shop through its large panoramic window we noticed the light glistening on the dew still hanging on covering the grass and the outdoor seats and tables. As I took the pics of the dew Jude the Undergardener/ Mrs Greenbench looked out from the warmth enjoying tea and cake and the beautiful seasonal table centre bouquet.
As we re-entered the chill we noticed that the Nerine outside the cafe which we enjoyed in flower last month was parading its glossy black berries. Dew on the deeaply pleated Melianthus leaves increased their glaucous hue. The gardeners were busy cutting, taking under cover or protecting the tender plants around the cafe terrace. In the hot borders many tender perennials such as Dahlia, Salvias and Echiums were already safely put away leaving swathes of bare cold soil in their wake.
Seed heads have darkened and the scaffolding of stems have become more skeletal during the late autumn and produced a beauty all of their own for our delectation.
Leaves and fruit add richness and depth to the more limited November colour palette.
Side by side two completely different plants, one an Aesculus, one a Fuchsia present the same pinkish-cream colour, the first within its leaf and the second in its faded pink flowers. Beautiful to see them side by side!
Without a doubt my favourite family of shrubs is the deciduous Euonymus and they are always such exciting plants with unusual stems, bark, flowers and berries. Naturally I was delighted to come across this beautiful little shrub, Eouonymus alatus nana with beautiful subtle pink colouring to the autumn foliage and deep purple with orange flowers and berries.
So our eleventh visit to Dorothy Clive was such a worthwhile, even exciting day for us with such an unusual sky event lighting up the gardens for a little while. Our next visit in December will be the final one so we will see what the year end brings to this wonderful place.