A Winter Wander around Bodenham Arboretum

On the last day of February, we met up with my sisters, Penny and Alison and Penny’s husband Tony for a wander around the arboretum at Bodenham near Kidderminster. We have visited several times before at different times of year, but never in February, so we did not know what to expect.

As we arrived the rain started and the drops of rain added a new texture to the surface of the lake that we could enjoy from the windows of the restaurant. This period of rain meant that we sat in the cafe for longer, long enough to enjoy two coffees each. But as soon as the rain eased off we donned coats and hats and set off towards the entry gate.

We soon spotted signs of just how damp the area is as any stump or fallen tree were carpeted in rich green mosses and lichens decorated standing trees and any wooden gate or fence.

Any shrubs or trees that flower in the winter months are extra special simply because they show up so well or are scented to attract predators and pollinators. There are fewer insects around at this time of the year than at any other, so plants need to be special to attract them.

Below are photos of a flowering quince, Cydonia, on the left and an evergreen member of the prunus family alongside.

The next four photos show a clump of birch catkins and Cornus mas flowers on the top row and below that two photos of a shrub completely unknown to us. It had the overall look of a will but it had white flowers. None of us had a clue to its identity.

The next pair of pictures show two different daphnes, on the left is the wonderful Daphne bhuloa ‘Jacqueline Postill’ and on the right Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’, both beautifully scented.

Variegated foliage comes into its own in the winter months, with hollies probably being the most prominent.

Coloured stems of shrubs and coloured and patterned bark of trees become more obvious once the leaves have fallen and exposed them.

At this time of year there only a few perennial plants that flower but everyone that does so is very special and noticed by almost everyone.

Wherever you visit in a garden or an arboretum you often find a surprise or two. At Bodenham it was ‘The fernery’ which seems to be taking advantage of an existing sloped pathway leading to a filled up feature. Ferns dominated the slopes and ivies covered the feature. One fern had beautifully shaped foliage and it is one we have been looking out for for years!

We shall be back later in the year in a different season.

By 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.

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