So here we are with the final installment in my series of posts where we report on our monthly visits to the wonderful gardens on the Staffordshire and Shropshire border, the Dorothy Clive Garden. We have really enjoyed our monthly visits and every time has been so different with different things to stimulate all the senses.
It has been a most enjoyable series of visits. Next year we will be looking at a very different place in our monthly visit series.
As we have come to expect, the table decorations reflected the season, as we enjoyed a coffee and cake to launch our final visit for 2016. The borders up against the tea shop wall looked so bare now after them recently being full of the brightest colours possible provided by Nerines. But within a few yards of leaving the tea shop we discovered colour in flowers and buds giving promises of things to come.
The new Winter Garden has now really come into its own and will continue to impress for a few months to come.
Structure comes into its own in any good garden at this time of the year and we found that the DC garden was no different. At home we love our cloud pruned box hedges and box balls and in winter of course they come to the fore so we were so pleased to see similar styles of hedge cutting going on on a much larger scale at the Dorothy Clive.
This rolling bundle of box bushes tumble like acrobats along the hedgerow and by partnering up with two mature trees they frame the countryside beyond. Great fun! The next three group around the bottom of a tree like three young triplets cuddling up to their mother. In the third pic the box balls invite the visitor to pass between them to discover more garden beyond.
Berries on trees and shrubs will hang on well into the winter depending how poor the weather becomes and how deeply winter sets in both here and on the continent. If weather as far away as Siberia becomes too inclement for the indigenous thrushes, starlings and blackcaps they migrate to our shores forming raiding parties upon arrival spreading countrywide consuming the fruits, seeds and berries in the countryside and increasingly our gardens. Some colours also last longer as birds are a selective lot when they have the choice, red first, oranges next then yellow and finally white and translucent.
The colours, textures and patterns found on the bark of trees as well as the stems of shrubs take centre stage at this time of year and are lit up by any late year sunshine.
We associate dried flowers with indoor arrangements in the winter but there are plenty of interesting versions to be found outside, especially if you can find some Hydrangeas like the many at the Dorothy Clive Gardens. The colours are those of faded tapestries.
Although not great fans of coniferous trees we can appreciate them more in December when their heavy skeletal frameworks show well. Cones and the last of the flowers hang on their solid branches.
We do however greatly appreciate the silhouettes of tall skeletal networks of deciduous trees.
We were surprised by how many different fungi we spotted as we wandered as we would normally see them in the autumn. They provided bright tiny patches of colour on old logs placed as border edges.
So there we have it, a year’s worth of visits to this lovely garden on the border of Shropshire and Staffordshire, one of our favourites and lucky for us within an hour’s drive so very easy to visit. I hope you have enjoyed the Dorothy Clive Gardens and my attempts at recording its seasonal beauty through the lens of my camera.