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The Dorothy Clive Garden in November

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Leaves and fruit add richness and depth to the more limited November colour palette.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Post 500 – Part Two – a further visit to the “Oudolf Field”

As promised I am returning to the beautiful county of Somerset where Jude and I spent a day exploring the exciting new “Oudolf Field” and the gallery buildings at the Hauser and Wirth’s Durslade Farm.

We left off as we were looking at the pool and giant clock. This is the first time we have seen any water designed into an Oudolf designed garden and indeed the first one to include a giant clock. The pool afforded clear reflections of the trees surrounding the site and was only planted around the margin closest to the buildings to give the maximum area of reflecting water.

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The tall clock towers over the pool and its white face stands out against the brightness of the blue sky. I would imagine it would look great against black clouds too! It casts a beautiful lollipop shadow across the golden gravel. Its face looks like a big circular disc but it is in reality asymmetric in design, which causes the minute hand to move out into clear air as it moves into the narrow side.

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Although the planting is lower than in his previous gardens Piet Oudolf still uses many of his favourite plants such as Sanguisorbas, Echinaceas, Verbenas and Heleniums.

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We had a break for coffee and to look around the galleries before wandering the gardens again as the sun dropped slowly in the sky and the light gave the meadows a fresh look.

We were enthralled by a gallery where a display of Oudolf’s garden designs helps reveal how this garden designer’s mind works. We loved the designs and working drawings and “idea jottings” of this garden here in Somerset as well as those from the New York High Line and the Wisley Garden.

Moving from gallery to gallery each courtyard space is softened by more of Oudolf’s plantings, featuring trees underplanted with grasses and perennials. The sculptural pieces sit comfortably among the old farm buildings with their richly textured surfaces.

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Enjoy the gallery of photos taken in the sparkling late afternoon light. It is amazing how different plantings can look as the light changes within just a few hours at this time of year.

The next post in my 500 Celebration series will find us over in Hertfordshire where Tom Stuart-Smith lives. We had the privilege of visiting his own garden and the one he designed for his sister.

 

 

 

 

 

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Taking advantage of the light.

Early September sees the light values changing in subtle ways. As the sun dips against a blue sky and evening takes over from the day, light comes into the garden from much lower down. This angle has a magical effect on the prairie planting in our Beth Chatto Garden.

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I couldn’t resist taking my camera with long lens out the first time I was lucky enough to spot these first signs of Autumn. Please let me know what you think of these photos. I have included every shot I fired off in a brief ten minutes of special light. Catch the moment!

So here is the gallery warts and all, no interference from Photoshop. As usual click on any photo to get going and then click on the arrow.