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The Dingle Garden in December

Here we are with the final report of our monthly visit to the Dingle Gardens near Welshpool. As we drove down to Welshpool the weather just could not make its mind up what it was going to do, sunny with blue skies one minute, showers of cold rain the next. But once we were actually wandering around the gravel paths of the garden, it settled and we had a dry period for most of our walk. A few minutes of rain arrived just as we finished.

The light was dull and we noticed how variegated plants really came into their own. Gold and green, silver and green, grey and green in every possible combination and patterns. Just see in the first photo how the variegated shrub across the lawn shines out against darker foliaged trees and shrubs.

         

Variegation in conifers fails to impress me, as sadly it just looks like a bird has been perched above the foliage for a while! See what you think!

 

Variegated groundcover plants are very effective in the woodland garden as they brighten up dull areas. Silver variegation create mirror effects reflecting any light that gets through the tree canopy.

  

The raindrops hung around on glaucous foliage and we were surprised just how many plants in this woodland garden displayed glaucous leaves. Variegated foliage adds extra bright spots to woodland patches but glaucous foliage creates gentle subdued spots.

 

The oldest surviving plants in the UK are the ferns, lichens and mosses and they love the damp atmosphere of the sloping woodland garden here at The Dingle. They add such beautiful shades of bright green and bluish tints, but a few go golden and ginger as winter takes a deeper grasp on the garden.

         

Berries that were at their most prolific during the autumn months remain in evidence but only just hanging on in ones or twos.

 

Coloured bark adds interest to decorative trees in the winter and those that peel and drop sheets of their bark are even more interesting.

   

So, after twelve visits to the woodland garden at The Dingle near Welshpool, we come to the end of this year of visits. Next year we will begin a new series of garden visits. But for now I shall finish this series with a few general views of different parts of the woodland gardens.

    

 

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The Dingle Garden in November

Back to wander around the gardens at the Dingle near Welshpool, for our November visit. We expected big changes after recent strong winds and heavy rain. We did not anticipate seeing many leaves left on deciduous trees and shrubs, but hoped for signs of late autumn colours in foliage and berries.

The first pic at the start of this post shows one leaf that was still hanging on against all odds, even after all our recent strong winds and storms. Below is a selection of photos of flowers still going strong in the woodland garden, some late blooms from the summer and some early winter blooms.

 

Throughout the woodland garden where there was a clearing the ground was covered in low growing perennials often covered with a carpet of fallen leaves.

    

During our visits over the year to The Dingle Gardens there has been an area that has been much wetter than elsewhere, often with water running off the bank across the paths and on down to the lake. On this visit we noticed and heard that work was in hand to add extra drainage systems to rectify the problem.

 

Berries are signs of the year’s end, there to help keep the plant populations viable.  Alongside them in this garden of trees and shrubs there were signs of new life in the form of leaf and flower buds waiting to unfold for us to enjoy in the future.

There was so much to enjoy as we wandered the garden paths that I took lots of photographs, so I thought I would finish our November post about our Dingle Garden visits with a photo gallery. As usual click on the first photo and navigate using the right arrow.

So just one more post to go which will be for our December visit to this wonderful woodland garden.

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The Dingle Garden in June

As we reach the middle of the year we made our monthly visit to the Dingle Gardens, and for once the weather looked set fair. This meant that we had strong contrast between light and shade and any colour was brightly lit when the sun hit it, leaf colour or flower colour.

A Cornus kousa on the lawned area loked at its best, with creamy white bracts covering it from head to toe. The light emphasised the shapes and textures of quite ordinary trees ans shrubs lifting them above their normal character, including this tall conifer and the little Box shrub.

  

Hosta leaves and fern fronds looked lush and fresh and appeared in every shade of green, some glaucous and some almost yellow. Their textures were emphasised also by the light, every curl and ripple of leaf and each curl and twist of fern fronds.

      

Conifers are difficult to appreciate in such a heavily planted hillside garden but on this day they seemed extra interesting with extra interest in their needle shapes and colours.

  

Conifer foliage appeared far more textured and more varied in colour than on the dull days of our earlier visits as the bright sunlight emphasised both the colours and textures.

   

The shubs were flowering well on this visit and some petals became almost translucent and a few perennial plants had cme into bloom too. These flower colours had an extra element of richness to them as they presented strong contrast to the multitude of greens and greys of foliage.

Roses seemed to have appeared from nowhere. In a garden full od trees and shrubs with interesting foliage, bark and stems rose bushes out of flower really do disappear. But in June suddenly the subshine finds heir beautiful scented flowers. Most here are simple blooms including our native roses.

To finish off my post on our June visit to the Dingle Garden I shall sign off with a gallery of flowering shrub photos, which I hope you enjoy. We will be back in July for our next monthly visit to see what is going on.

 

 

 

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The Dingle Garden in May

We planned our fifth visit to the Dingle Gardens near Welshpool for the 23rd May and intended to go whatever the weather. Our April visit was on a day more typical of November than April so the photos I took were rather unusual for a garden in spring.

However for our May visit the sun shone, the sky was clear blue and the warmth allowed us to have a very leisurely stroll around the garden. We had so far this year seen little change from month to month as spring was on hold but this May visit was a strong contrast. We found the garden rich in flowering shrubs and strong fresh growth everywhere.

My first set of pics show paths we followed and the views from them.

  

A real surprise was the explosion of colour provided by the Rhododendrons whose buds we have featured over the first few months of the year. The brightest of reds, oranges, pinks plus cerise hues and shades of white sat together sometimes in harmony but often clashing!

Contrasting and strong coloured foliage provides as much interest as flowers at this time of year as all deciduous foliage is fresh and lively.

        

Ferns are an exciting element in the woodland or shade garden in May as fresh fronds unfurl and open to reveal strongly textured and patterned foliage.

    

I shall finish this visit report for our May wanderings around the Dingle Garden with a few general shots taken near the lake at the bottom of the sloping garden, showing the variation in foliage apparent in the trees and shrubs. We can now look forward to what June at the Dingle will have to offer.

 

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The Dingle Garden in April

We made our April visit to this year’s chosen garden for monthly visits expecting to enjoy all the freshness of early spring. How wrong could we be! The day dawned cold and misty and as we walked around the gravel paths we got more damp with each step as we were walking in a gentle mist. We felt as if we were wandering around the garden on a typical November day definitely not an April day.

Mist hung among the trees and rain droplets hung from buds and branches.

We expected to be able to enjoy early flowering shrubs like rhododendrons and azaleas, but there were just a few as the seasons are still lagging behind. A beautiful bright yellow flowered Berberis really brightened the gloom and an orange flowered variety glowed through the shrubs like beacons. Both of these Berberis added a little welcome scent to the walk.

 

Some Rhododendrons were flowering well while others still showed tight buds. At this time of year every little flower on the shrubs is so powerful.

       

We made our way down towards the lake enjoying the misty views out across the water. When we arrived at the bankside we walked the perimeter and all the way we could see the glow of the yellow-flowered Skunk Cabbage growing on the water’s edge.

 

As we wandered back along the gravel paths we spotted odd flowering perennials and bulbs giving patches of colour in the shade of the shrubs.

       

We were once again surprised by the lack of changes on this month’s visit, but as with anything to do with Mother Nature there was plenty for us to look at and consider. Perhaps on our next visit, which will be in May, we will experience the presence of spring.

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Early Spring Light in a Woodland Garden

March at the Dingle woodland garden at The Dingle and Nursery near Welshpool proved to be a time with special light when the sun appeared for odd periods. I am sharing some of my photos taken of the landscape and the light playing with it. I hope you enjoy them!

     

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The Dingle Garden in Welshpool – March

We returned to the Dingle Garden and Nurseries for the third time this year, hoping for signs of spring but having experienced such bad weather recently we were expecting few changes at all. We always enjoy a wander around the nursery anyway so that would make up for any disappointments. In particular we enjoy their collections of trees and shrubs.

We soon spotted shrubs we had looked at in detail on our last visit when buds were fattening but not displaying signs of opening. On this our March visit things had not developed at all. However some shrubs further down the slope towards the lake where there was more shelter were in fact in the first stages of bursting into leaf.

The light on this visit allowed the colour and texture of the bark on trees show up far better than in February.

    ,

Deciduous Euonymus such as our native Euonymus europaeus, display their heavily textured bark when they are bare of foliage, and Euonymus alatus is a particular star with its winged stems.

 

A few shrubs had open flowers and looked very special, like gems, among so much deep green of the many evergreens growing on the slopes. Hellebores and flowering bulbs added splashes of colour amongst the undergrowth. The tiny insignificant flowers of Euphorbias sat snuggled into the bright green bracts.

  

The common native Hazel, Corylus avellena, is far from ordinary. It is an exceptional plant as it gives so much to our gardens. If you plant a contorted variety then you get the strangest of winter skeletons, but with others you get sturdy upright growth and this growth provides us with our bean poles for the allotment. In the first months of each year they delight us with their catkins which look like little lime-green lambs’ tales. These are the male flowers producing mists of pollen on breezy warm days but if you look very closely you may be lucky enough to find a female flower which is a minute deep red flower like a miniature sea anemone.

 

Buds were just beginning to show the early signs of fattening up when we made our visit in February so we were so pleased to find some fresh brightly coloured leaves beginning to burst forth from them this month.

        

Fresh growth had appeared from clumps of perennials, with Hemerocallis way ahead of others with the brightest and most advanced growth of all.

 

Evergreen shrubs have produced new foliage which looks so young with glossy surfaces and extra bright colours.

 

As we wandered the pathways enjoying the freshness of new growth and bursting buds, we were distracted by surprises and unexpected features, such as this old tumbled-down summer house and a deep fissure in the path where rushing floodwater had flowed beneath the path removing materials.

 

The stream which we enjoyed watching last month tumbling beneath the wooden footbridge had turned into an angry torrent of water, so noisy that we could hear it from far off. Wherever we were inside the woodland garden we could hear running water rushing down slopes, along tiny streams and over pathways.

Let us hope that by the time of our next visit the garden will be much dryer and the water passing down the site will be back within its banks.

 

 

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The Dingle Garden in Welshpool – February

Back to Welshpool to explore The Dingle Gardens for February, we expected little change since our January visit as the weather had remained very similar.

We were greeted by a stunning wooden owl sculpture! Soon we noticed there were lots of signs of new growth, buds forming on trees and shrubs and a few beginning to burst into leaf.

  

Rhodendrons and Azaleas have strong looking buds both leaves and flowers showing well.

 

Some of the many small evergreen shrubs are showing off new fresh growth with Hebes sporting new coloured foliage along with some conifers who show off new coloured needles.

We spotted one Buddleja which was holding onto seed heads from last autumn alongside fairly advanced fresh silver foliage. We wondered what would happen to this growth if a frost suddenly covered it.

A few plants had splashes of green showing where leaf buds were beginning to burst, especially Hydrangeas

   

We didn’t expect to come across many flowers but there were a few to delight the eye and sometimes the nose too.

 

 

 

The bracts and tiny flowers of Euphorbias were brightening up showing glaucous and lime green colours.

 

So February proved to be more interesting than we had predicted. We hope to see the first signs of spring on our next visit in March.

 

 

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The Dingle Gardens Welshpool – January

Here we are back visiting our chosen garden each month, with our garden for 2018 being the attached garden at The Dingle Nurseries near Welshpool. This garden is of a totally different scale, atmosphere and style to Attingham Park, our garden for 2017. The garden is open every day of the year bar Christmas Day and on odd days the fees go to the National Garden Scheme.

The nursery is stocked with perennials, shrubs and trees but specialises mostly in the last two, and it is from here that we tend to buy our trees and shrubs. This is a nursery we are delighted to have on our dooorstep. As we move through the entrance we always enjoy the displays of plants with current interest and similarly plants for winter interest and displayed in the first few rows of plants.

 

So, here we are on the 14th January with our first visit to our new garden, arriving on a dull lightly overcast day. Having never visited before this deep into winter, we entered through the wooden gate green with algae and followed the gravel paths into the garden, not quite knowing what to expect. We enjoy surprises in the gardens we visit!

Evergreens both coniferous and broadleaves lined the paths and are planted in thoughtful groupings. In the first photo a dark, glossy leaved Pittosporum “Tom Thumb” sits comfortably with a Euphorbia, a Brachyglottis and a Hebe. In the second picture two conifers illustrate how different they can be in texture, colour and form.

 

Early in our wanderings we found this lovely rustic seat which is slowly being eroded away by the weather. Close by the seat glowed the pale green flowers of a Helleborus foetidus.

 

Hydrangeas appear throughout the garden in the autumn showing their colourful inflorescences in pinks, white and blues, while throughout the winter these colours fade to biscuits, gingers and ivory. In some flowers hints of blues and pinks remain.

   

Out of season flowers appear here and there on odd shrubs, on others leaf buds promise fresh growth in the spring while berries hang as remnants of their winter harvest.

When tree surgery work is carried out in the Dingle Garden logs are left as habitats for the many forms of wildlife that maintain a healthy ecosystem in the garden.

 

At the lowest point of the gardens a calm lake affords us a place to stop awhile to look around its banks. A bog garden at one end looks dull and dark at this time of year, with just the deep brown of dead leaves of Gunnera and Lysichiton americanus rising above the mud.

Recent heavy snowfall has caused damage to trees and shrubs, breaking branches of all sizes and crushing foliage. Strong winter winds have added to the damage.

  

To share more of my photos taken during our wandering and enjoyment of the gardens at the Dingle I have created the following gallery. Enjoy the pictures. The next visit to this garden will be in February.

 

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The Dingle Gardens Month by Month 2018

My chosen garden f0r my monthly visits in  2018 is so much smaller than Attingham Park which we enjoyed throughout 2017. The Dingle is a Nursery just over the border into Wales situated on the edge of the market town of Welshpool. The garden is accessed through a little wooden gate in the bottom left corner of the nursery where a large selection of Acer shrubs are displayed for sale. It is a garden centred around a huge collection of shrubs and trees, many unusual, growing on a gentle slope down to a lake.

The garden like ours opens at times under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme, but opens every other day of the year bar Christmas Day. I have already featured the gardens four times in my past posts. Here are a few photos to give you a taste of what we might discover during the year.

  

I hope these few photos will give you an appetite for the 12 posts to come about The Dingle in 2018.