We are in the habit of visiting the gardens of the National Trust property, Dunham Massey, especially since their Winter Garden has matured. We tend to visit in February. This year we made our annual pilgrimage on a sunny, mild day right at the end of the month.
The new visitors centre of glass and wood gives a fresh new welcome and these beautiful etchings in the glass feature throughout. They set the atmosphere to prepare you for the wonderful winter garden.
On the walk to the garden we passed this dead tree now cut down and the wood used to create a wildlife habitat. Brilliant idea!
As soon as we had taken our first steps in the garden we could see what we could expect, with this border of coloured stemmed shrubs, Cornus “Midwinter fire” and Rubus thibeticanus against a background of ilex crenata and a mixture of conifers.
A few paces further on and the large numbers of white stemmed birches, Betula utilis “Dorenbos” appeared like a ghostly forest, with a carpet of Snowdrops adding to the atmosphere. You must know by now how much I love Betulas so you can imagine how planting them on this scale impresses me deeply. They enticed me to try out my new wide angle attachment on the Nikon. Not too sure about the vignetting on this one though!
There was much more than white coloured plants to look at! And some lovingly selected plant partners.
Not all the trees here in the winter garden were Birch either, there was plenty of room for others like this Prunus serrula and Acer griseum.
As in any well-designed winter planting coloured stems are very potent, especially Cornus and Salix.
But of course there were plenty of flowering plants to give us colour in the gloomiest of months, flowering bulbs, shrubs and even a few perennials.
In some areas we stopped to appreciate the beauty of an individual plant or even a single bloom but in others it was the sheer mass of planting that impressed.
Other fresh growth provided interest without any colour other than browns and biscuits.
Of course it is more natural to think of these lovely warm biscuits and browns when we consider the growth that was green or brightly coloured last year. And I love these colours when they are a result of decay and age as much as any other colour in the garden. Enjoy this little collage of brown and biscuit!
Thinking about winter of course we mustn’t let the berries in their gaudy reds and oranges get missed out.
Sometimes the beauty was hidden behind a haze. In the pictures below you need to look through the thin mist and the reflective surface of water.