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A Lockdown Woodland Walk- Attingham Park

On a warm bright autumn in mid-November we took advantage of the covid lockdown rule allowing us out for exercise and booked a slot at Attingham Park our local National Trust property.

We really enjoyed the amazing sense of freedom we felt every minute of our wanderings. It felt great to take a few photos again! Here they are! The last few show some knitted animals placed among a shrubbery for the autumn season.

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Attingham snowdrop walk

Every year in February we follow our usual walk around the grounds of Attingham Park, a National Trust property just a half hour drive away. What makes this February walk different is the thousands of snowdrops growing happily beneath beautiful mature trees.

Another unusual aspect of our walk was the amount of standing water around, including flooding from the river that runs through the parkland.

An extra feature this year was a display put on by the local WI (Women’s Institute) all knitting and different forms of fabric craft. The pieces were displayed on the trees and on lengths of woolen yarn strung between trees and were created to highlight the plight of our planet, caused by climate change issues.

 

We particularly liked our first sighting of the signs of spring!

 

 

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Gregynog Part 2 – the woodland walks

Here we are back at the NGS garden, Gregynog where you left us just starting out on our exploration of the park’s woodland. We wandered past the rose hedge along the gravel drive before turning off to the left along a gravel track which took us past mature trees, both conifers and deciduous, with an understorey of shrubs. Autumn colours were beginning to show in their foliage.

  

Acers beneath the tree canopy provided bright splashes of colour.

   

We soon found ourselves having to cross over the driveway to enter the woodands and almost immediately came across the lake. We began to meet several other couples and families taking advantage of the weather and the woodland trails, as well as a few more serious runners using the “Green Gym”. We took the path that took us almost all around the lake and then took a side track, grassed underfoot, into the woodland itself. We walked beneath mature wrinkled Birches which let plenty of light through to allow an understory to grow away happily.

        

After walking half a mile into the woodland the pathsides were a mass of tall growing golden leaved brackens. The tallest were the same height as Jude, the Undergardener.

On the wood floor beneath the trees a carpet of colourful fallen leaves gave a soft surface for us to walk on.

A final surprise were the dens built around and against the tree trunks by young visitors enjoying the special woodland atmosphere.

Leaving the woodland we could see the hall through the trees, and then we discovered the “Green Gym”, where wooden gym structures awaited the fit and healthy visitors.

So that was our day out at Gregynog, a completely new garden to us and one we would enjoy visiting again.

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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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Crug Farm – a planthunter’s woodland garden

We had not visited Crug Farm garden and nursery for several years, so taking advantage of our return journey from Anglesey we took a short detour to explore this woodland garden in Snowdonia. Driving into the little car park the yellow and orange poppies, Meconopsis cambrica, gave us a warm welcome.

I will now simply invite you to walk with us along the paths at Crug Farm sharing the atmosphere and the beautifully designed planting schemes, by following my gallery. Just click on the right arrow and navigate through using the arrows.

 

We left the woodland garden through a gateway that lead to the nursery set within a small walled garden. We enjoyed a walk around studying a large range of plants collected by owners the Bleddyn-Jones’. Of course we bought several to add to our shade borders.

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Anglesey Woodland in mid-May

During our family holiday on Anglesey in the middle of May we spent a few days discovering ancient pre-historic sites on the island. The walk to a fortified hut group took us through this beautiful patch of woodland growing happily on a gentle slope. I hope you enjoy the photos I took.

       

The beautiful light worked as a spotlight to help intensify the colour of the flowers and the bright greens of the many ferns.

 

What a spectacular little patch of woodland, a real treat to walk through and enjoy the trees and the flowers growing beneath them.

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A Walk in the Park – Attingham Park December

We made our monthly visit to Attingham Park, our last one for 2017, just as Christmas was making itself known at this National Trust property. Before we even reached the coffee shop for our usual warm drink to get us fueled up for our walk, we had been met by a snowman, a Christmas tree and we were entertained to some 1940’s music and dancing. The hall was decorated in a 1940’s style so the dancing set the scene.

 

The trees were decorated with wartime decorations, based on the idea of “make and make do”, as were the decorations in the coffee shop, where paper chains were made from newspaper. The trees were themed with one based on children’s games from the 1940’s and another was book based.

 

We came across a few other Snowmen, as we followed the one-mile trail, to amuse us on this chilly day. I managed to get around this month without my wheelchair as my recovery from leg surgery is coming along nicely. I walked the mile using a crutch which was very pleasing and rewarding!

      

Wandering through the woodland areas beneath tall mature trees, we noticed that a few browned leaves were managing to hang on to the branches but the majority were bare skeletons. These frameworks of trunks, branches and twigs were magnificent with no green leaves to hide their structure.

   

New buds were already waiting patiently on some branches anticipating spring far off on the horizon, while on other neighbouring trees a few dried leaves hung on. One patch of trees still showed some green in its canopy. A few old seed pods hung on having defied the storms, rains and gales of autumn, seed heads of trees, shrubs and perennial plants.

 

  

We wandered around the walled garden now virtually clear of crops, leaving hazel pole structures bare of the bean plants that once adorned them. The volunteer staff here are adept at creating beautiful and original plant structures.

   

A green flowered cauliflower had recently been attacked by frost, so had browned a little. Celeriac though recently cropped awaited storage.

 

The gardeners’ bothy was simply decorated but full of atmosphere, added to by the gardeners and volunteers enjoying their break so the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingled with the smell of wood smoke.

Whatever time of year you explore the countryside, parkland or even more so a garden, there are always surprises awaiting. An out of season flower, a bud bursting at an inappropriate time or sadly at times the sudden death of a favourite plant. Two surprises were awaiting us at Attingham this December. First were lemon yellow catkins hanging fresh and healthily from hazel shrubs. These are usually key features of the month of February. In December they provided a beautiful diversion for me and my camera lens!

The second surprise was a Rhododendron shrub in flower!

  

Now that we have explored the parkland at Attingham Park every month during 2017, we need to decide where our monthly visit will be next year. We need somewhere open all year and of interest every month too. We shall let you know in the new year! I hope you have enjoyed visiting Attingham with us each month during 2017.

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A Walk in the Park – Attingham Park July

Here we are back at Attingham Park for another wander, this time to see what is going on in the walled garden and woodland pleasure gardens in July.

We arrived in the rain and carried on regardless. Foliage was glossy with moisture because of the steady drizzle, and large puddles had formed on the path.

 

The gardener’s cottage garden gave a little colourful cheer to the day, and water droplets hung on flowers and berries. The heritage rare breed cattle in the field at the start of the track ignored the drizzle and continued tearing at the grass heads down.

 

The walled garden gave protection and the day began to feel a little warmer as the rain stopped.

    

The beautiful, recently restored, vintage glasshouses are now becoming productive with melons, grapes, tomatoes, chillies and cucumbers.

   

We particularly liked the amazing textures of this melon and its subtle mix of greens.

 

As we entered the gardeners’ bothy we could instantly enjoy the fresh uplifting aroma of bunches of freshly picked lavender, and the sight of simple flower arrangements and freshly harvested lettuces.

   

After taking in the sights, scents and sounds offered by the walled garden we continued on our wanders, following the One Mile Walk trail.

 

Come with us as we take you along this track in a gallery of photos. As usual click on the first and navigate with the arrows. We will return for another wander in August.

 

 

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The Gardens at Hurdley Hall

We are so lucky to live where we do in so many ways, not least of which is the number of excellent gardens we can visit within a day. Recently on a Sunday we found a garden open under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme, the same scheme that our garden is a part of, and this one at Hurdley Hall was just over a half hour drive away.

We parked up in a rough pasture field alongside a farm and trudged uphill to the garden itself entrance. We obtained our tickets and walked down the drive which fell steeply to the garden itself, but this did afford us excellent glimpses of what we could expect so our expectations were heightened. Apart from the garden encompassing the house there were meadows, a new orchard and woodland to explore so we were in for a busy afternoon.

The house itself was first built in 1630 with additions made in 1718, 1820 and 2010. The garden was just 15 years old. The view from the house and garden was of a wooded valley and a steep hill which is a nature reserve.

 

Where we sat to enjoy the views with tea and cake we were close to a very colourful herbaceous border, displaying interesting colour combinations. The garden also boasted a small kitchen garden with raised beds and a shaded area with pond.

       

To one side of the house a more formal area contrasted well with the softer plantings we had seen so far. Lots of pale stonework and blue flowers gave this area its own character, almost Mediterranean.

   

After enjoying a slow wander around the garden under a baking sun we followed a sign for the meadows. We passed through a gateway and followed close cut grass paths through the meadow which gave us views of a newly planted orchard and woodlands. Come with us through the six-bar wooden field gate and explore the meadows and woods by following my gallery, which finishes off this visit to this wonderfully atmospheric garden and the land beyond.

To follow the gallery click on the first photo then navigate with the arrows.

 

 

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A Walk in the Park – Attingham Park – The Woodland Walk

Back to our March visit to Attingham Park when we decided to take the Woodland Walk Trail.

As we left the walled garden clumps of the clearest yellow daffodils lit up shadows beneath shrubbery.

We were anticipating expanding buds on some shrubs and trees and maybe a few in early leaf. We both love the sticky, brittle toffee coloured buds which are early to burst. Other buds shone bright green!

     

  

We soon encountered signs of the work of Storm Doris, a huge mature tree had been ripped from the ground. We imagined  how  frightening the sounds of the tree being torn and wrenched from the ground must have been. The gardeners had been hard at work tidying up the mess of her destruction.

Places that usually look boggy looked much wetter on this visit with tiny ditches and streams full of water and flowing into larger areas of clear standing water with wetland plants looking full of life and thriving.

 

We passed beneath mature deciduous trees as we followed the woodland trail. On the ground beneath them the bright green freshness of this year’s herbaceous growth shone out. But an even brighter red patch caught our attention, a small group of fungi.

       

We came out into the open, which appeared much brighter as as we left the trees behind, and made our way back across the deer park back towards the house.

A bridge took us over the river which was flowing quickly in a light flood. Weeping willow branches were being swept along and the water was lapping at the feet of a row of elderly pollarded willows. The pollards looked so sculptural.

Next month’s visit to Attingham Park should feature more signs of spring becoming established.