It was another hot day with clear blue skies and temperatures just short of 30C when we decided to take a drive out to the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent to visit two very different gardens. The first was a courtyard garden at the Emma Bridgwater Pottery Factory featured in my recent post, and the second the vast gardens at Trentham.
We decided to walk the perimeter of the lake now that my newly rebuilt leg was working well. This was a walk we had always wanted to do but I was unable, so it felt good to be setting off on the walk. We were looking forward to discovering new planting by Nigel Dunnett, meadows integrated into the trees and waterside planting designed way back by Capability Brown. We usually wander around Trentham by turning to our right and going through the Piet Oudolf “River of Grasses” then travelling through his prairie gardens before going on to Tom Stuart-Smith’s modern planting within the original structure of the Italian Garden.
On this day though we decided to turn left an make our way around Capability Brown’s lake. Nigel Dunnett’s first meadow plantings tok our breath away. The subtle colours worked so well together and led our eyes twards the water beyond.
As we moved into the shade of mature trees from Capability Brown’s original designs, his choice of flwers changed with brighter flowers being integrated with the purples and whites. This gave the opportunity for Dunnett to use the strong opposite colours, purple and orange, guaranteed to set the heart racing a little faster and smiles to appear on our faces.
With his designs there are always surprises to make to pause and think and we came across just such a place, a plantation of young Birches, Betula Doorenbos. Close by a flowing piece of metal sculptural pieces were integratred within a stretch of the meadows. Corton steel waves to reflect the waves on the surface of the lake when rough. It looked beautifully satisfying floating above the meadow flower colours.
After wandering through the woodland more meadows appeared with much softer planting style. These stunning owl sculptures were a fine finale to our visit.