Monday, April 12, 2010

The Dorothy Clive Gardens

The warmest day of the year so far saw me in the mood for a bit of garden visiting. I was going to go to Dunham Massey but changed my mind and went to the Dorothy Clive Gardens in Shropshire instead.
Detail on stone bench

The gardens were created by Colonel Harry Clive for his wife, Dorothy, and cover 12 acres. They are best known for the quarry garden area. This area is full of large rhododendrons and azaleas, with a top storey of mature trees. In some places ground cover plants have started to grow and flower, giving added interest.

Grape hyacinth

Ferns 'fwinging' in the undergrowth

Peony foliage emerging
I was initially disappointed when I arrived, as I realised that I was around three weeks early to witness the rhodies and azaleas at their best, along with the extensive plantings of tulips. But the quarry garden is like a maze to wander around, and I enjoyed looking at the differences between the rhododendron cultivars, even when most of them weren't flowering.
Rhododendron leaves

Laburnum arch - no, really

It's worth looking up in the quarry garden

The daffodil walk was at its best, though. And the scent of swathes of Narcissus 'Jack Snipe' just added to the feeling of calm which the sunshine and the sight of hoardes of butterflies had already instilled in me.
The daffodil walk
The scree garden has just been refurbished, and I spent 15 minutes or so chatting to the chap who was literally putting the finishing touches to the planting. He is a member of the British Alpine Society and spent time pointing out plants which had been grown from seeds sent by alpine plant colleagues from around the world. And we were both pleased to see the Tulipa humilis in flower - it had apparently come out for the first time that morning.

Scree garden

Tulipa humilis

You won't find cutting edge garden design. You won't find modernism. You won't be challenged to think about gardens as art. This is a garden as love - love for a wife. If you're in the area over the next month or two, go and explore it. And feel the love.


Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Creating a garden out of love for someone. Does it come any better than that? I think not. Lovely garden, even in early spring there's a lot going on I see. Love daffs so am sorry that I live too far away to pop over for a visit.

Jo said...

I bet it will look stunning when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in full bloom, but there still looks plenty to see already.

Helen/patientgardener said...

Thanks for sharing your pics and thoughts about the garden - will add this one to my list as it isnt too far from where I live

Anna said...

Enjoyed your post HM - have visited several times but never so early in the year. Wanted to go last weekend as they have a plant sale on over Easter but himself will not venture out on holiday weekends :) The story behind the garden's creation is most moving.

Anonymous said...

I believe trendy and modern to be overrated, to be honest. A garden built for love trumps all. How fun to chat with one who actually gardens there, too. Jack Snipe seems a good guy. :-)

Chandramouli S said...

What wonderful Daffodils and that Tulipa looks fantastic! Nice color. I wish you post the Rhododendron in bloom in your future posts.

HappyMouffetard said...

Yolanda - absolutely - what better reason for a garden could there be?

Jo - it was enjoyable, but in a couple of weeks it will be "wow".

PG - it's worth the effort, although it's not a huge garden. You could always combine it with a trip[ to Bridgemere garden centre, though I find that place a bit huge and soulless.

Anna - yes, I noticed that I managed to miss the plant fair when I looked it up on the web. I'd recommend it at this time of the year and I'll definitely go again at a different time of year.

Frances - quite right. Jack Snipe was a fragrant young chap. I'd recommend him.

Chandramouli S - don't worry, I have a couple of posts coming up on rhododendrons over the next couple of weeks, if I can organise myself to get them written. Thank you for visiting!

Gail said...

I'd like to visit this garden..."A garden as love". gail love the butterfly on daff photo very much.

Carrie said...

Fab post - photos are amazing I just adore that little grape hyacinth bokeh