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autumn autumn colours Cheshire garden design garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public ornamental trees and shrubs trees

Sorbus at Ness Botanic Gardens

As mentioned in my post about Ness Botanic Gardens themselves we were using the visit to study their many different Sorbus trees, to help us choose one for our garden. Here is a selection of those we found and liked. At the end of the post we shall share with you our shortlist drawn up during our visit.

The first cultivar which featured strongly in the carpark planting and around the garden was unusurpisingly Sorbus “Ness Pink”, a beautiful fastigiate structured tree with blue foliage and pale pink flowers. A stunning selection which immediately went onto our short list.

Next up was another neat tree with finely cut foliage and crisp yellow-orange berries, which was not labelled but later we found another that we thought was the same – Sorbus “Wisley Gold”. Another for the list!

Next ones we found in the pinetum were these deep pinkish berried trees, the one on the left is S. “Leonard Messell” and the other S.”Eastern Promise”.

We carried on in the woodland alongside the pinetum to find S. “Jospeph Rock” and S. coxii. We already have Joseph Rock growing at home and is a real favourite but we were not aware of coxii. It had the most beautiful glaucous foliage, but researching it is hard work as no-one seems to know much about it.

The pair that I photographed next were on the left S. discolor and on the right S. “Autumn Spire” which we already grow in our Avocet patch. Is a narrow upright tree with bright orang fruit looking fiery with red autumn colour.

Below are the next two Sorbus we came across and liked enough to photograph were sadly unlabelled. No help to us in seeking a selection for our garden. Good looking trees too!

We then were disappointed to find this pale yellow almost lemon berried tree had no label either. The one on the right is S. “Carmesina” a deep pink fruiting tree with pale glaucous foliage.

 

Two pink berried cultivars are featured next, the first with the palest pink possible, S.bulleyana, the second S. discolores with a deep blush to their pale pink.

 

At the end of the pinetum we came across a perfectly shaped rowan dripping with orange-yellow berries, Sorbus aucuparia “Dickeana”, a special specimen indeed.

We were delighted to discover on a grassed area on our return route to the centre among Betulas, a few more beautiful Sorbus, the red-leaved S. “Dodong Olympic Flame” and the more gentle S. Chinese Lace.

And to finish off a return to the magnificent Sorbus “Pink Ness”.

So what were the varieties that made it onto our short list? Here as promised is our selection from which we must seek out and purchase just one.

You may have guessed that Pink Ness is there, plus Chinese Lace,  Dodong Olympic Flame and Wisley Gold. Great selection – hope you agree.

 

Categories
countryside landscapes migration Powis Powys trees Wales wildlife woodland woodlands

Waterfall Walkabout

We made a quick visit to the waterfall at Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, in Powys  last year and vowed to return. So in late august we did just that not thinking that being still in the holiday period it would be so much busier than our previous spring visit. But many people were walking off into the hills so our wander was still quite quiet.

After our usual coffee and cakes which we enjoyed in the cafe at the base of the falls we set off up a narrow path and quickly found the stream that flowed rapidly from the falls themselves. The cafe is part of an interesting and unusual endeavour, a business which involves a campsite and retreat as well as the cafe, a little empire to nourish the body, the soul and the mind. It is a place to find peace and get close to nature.

We heard the falls well before we saw them, the roaring and rushing  of water dropping over 100 feet splashing on rock outcrops as it falls. When the falls come into view we are always forced to stop just to stare and take in the scene. It is simply beautiful, a place where the gentle beauty of nature is disturbed by the sheer power of water. A mist of spray drifts among the trees. All around is green, bright almost fluorescent green. Ferns, mosses and lichen reveling in an atmosphere full of droplets of water, very pure clean water, not yet subjected to man’s pollution. It won’t be long before this stream, crystal clear but for a hint of the coffee brown stain from peat, will be subject to agricultural run-off. Nitrates, herbicides and sheep dip chemicals. But for now its purity adds to the delight of the place.

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After enjoying being close to the roar and rumble of the waterfall we took a narrow track into the valley. Our feet made no sound on the pine needles that covered the path so we could hear the sound of the falling water getting quieter as we moved deeper into the heavily wooded slopes of the valley side. The trees grew close together so had grown tall in their search for light.

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Every boulder and the bases of every tree trunk were carpeted in mosses and lichens, soft and silky to the touch.

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The boulders had been rolled down the slope by the forces of gravity after the equally powerful force of erosion had separated them from the rock faces of the vertical outcrops towering above the tree line. Erosion had also removed the soil and scree that once anchored this tree and its roots to the ground. Today it somehow remains upright by holding on with only half of its giant roots still in the ground.

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The openness at the end of the woodland afforded us vast views of the mountain range underneath which we had driven to find the waterfalls.

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In a place dominated by huge trees, massive mountains and rugged rock faces it is good to study tiny delicate things as a contrast. There can be no more delicate flower then the Harebell and no smaller plants than mosses, lichens and algae (algae and lichen are not strictly speaking plants). Although the beetles we came across were small at only a centimetre or so long they certainly did not look delicate. They looked tough as they moved through the grass with purpose. Theses little chaps are powerful predators in the mini-beast world.

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Fruit was colouring up on Hawthorns, Rowans and wild Crab Apples. We imagined that once the migrant thrushes passed through Wales they would home in on this valley side and gorge themselves on this fruit bounty.

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On the more exposed slopes of the valley trees live short lives and they grow stunted by the harsh winds and cold winters. This does though give them beautiful shapes, their branches and trunks taking on bonsai like twists and turns. The clean air here meant they wear coats of lichen, moss and algae. The first three pictures below are of a dead tree, partly felled but still giving a home to these tiny members of the plant world.

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On our return back along the track we took a detour to see if we could get a closer look at the falls by going upwards. The path rose steeply and we found ourselves on a ledge almost halfway up the falls so we did get different views but not as dramatic as we had hoped for.

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What a great place this is, possibly as close to wilderness as we can find in this part of Wales. The walk isn’t easy or indeed sensible for either of us – me walking with a crutch and one leg without any feeling and Jude being scared of heights and hating walking with a gap alongside. But we did it and we enjoyed! And we will probably do it again! No – we will definitely do it again!

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
arboreta architecture buildings Cheshire gardens open to the public ornamental trees and shrubs photography

Telescopes and Trees – part two

Back at Jodrell Bank as we explored the arboretum nestled amidst natural woodlands, we looked forward to finding our first Sorbus. We were surprised upon finding them that several had already lost all their foliage and some had dropped all their berries too. Luckily the majority still looked good.

Sorbus “Leonard Messell” was a good one to start off with. Its berries were the palest of pink with a deep blush and they were enhanced by finely cut foliage.

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With larger berries in a coral pink Sorbus yunanensis looked a distant relative. Its leaves were much larger and far less divided.

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Sorbus kewensis was a tall stately specimen of a tree.

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Where trees had lost all foliage and their berries hung on bare branches they looked very stark against the clear blue autumn sky.

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There were more to be found around each corner as the path took a turn, each with its own special colour, size and shape of berry.

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After enjoying so many wonderful berried trees we left the arboretum and spent the last hour left to us while the site remained open enjoying a closer look at the telescopes and the parkland in which they sat. These massive creations of man certainly lacked the delicacy and wonderful colours of Mother Nature’s creations but they did have an attraction of their own when set against the clear blue sky.

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