We have planted new trees that are Chilean in origin e.g. Crinodendron hookerianum (Chilean Lantern Tree) and Embothrium coccineum (Chilean Flame Tree). We will start to add plants to the borders in this area that are also Chilean and so over time give examples of plants from this area of the world.
We noticed that Betula thrive in this part of Dorset and after a donation from The Ladies of Parkstone Golf Club were able to develop this area of lawn into a grove of trees that will show off this interesting Genus.
Once we had given shape back to the trees and shrubs in these borders found that there seemed to be a theme of Winter interest plants such as the fragrant flowered Mahonia, Sarcococca, and Osmanthus burkwoodii. We will continue to develop the area to give visitors an interesting display from early to late Winter.
Alison’s Woodland Walk
This is one of the informal parts of the garden and is bursting with colour throughout Spring. Floral interest varies from the delicate papery flowers of Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) through to big blousy blooms of Rhoddodendron. We will continue to add to the Spring collection to create a diverse collection of plants for this season.
This area at the top of the pond was overgrown with perennial weeds. Once we had cleared the area, it seemed to be an ideal part of the garden to introduce a collection of Acers. The colourful Spring and Autumn foliage, lighting up this waterside area.
This border is split into islands with a variety of moisture loving plants. We are slowly clearing the weeds that have invaded this part of the gardens. The sharp spears of Yellow Flag Iris contrasting the frothy fronds of the Matteuccia Struthiopteris (Shuttlecock Fern) and framed under the canopies of the Taxodium distichum (Swamp Cypress) and Willow.
This is a collection of Roses laid out in a Yew hedged garden room. In the centre in a fountain pool stocked with ornamental fish. In time honoured way the Roses are the stars of the show in this ‘room’ and so other plants are kept to a minimum. Wander through this part of the garden on a warm morning when the flowers are in full bloom and you will be treated to a heady fragrance that fills the air.
After clearing an overgrown nook in this corner of the Gardens, we felt that the sheltered, dappled position might lend itself to experimenting with a jungle style planting scheme. Here we have plants that will have architectural foliage, the broad leaves of the coppiced Paulownia tomentosa (Foxglove Tree), palmate leaves of Fatsia japonica and the big arching leaves of Dicksonia antartica (Tree Fern).
With an understory of ferns, Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ and the introduction of plants with primary coloured flowers we hope to create an interesting addition to the gardens.
This deep south facing border runs almost the length of the ornamental gardens and has an interesting collection of cottage style plants. As part of our aim to increase the collection of plants in the gardens we have added and will continue to add new plants to complement those that are already there. This border is positioned such that at one end it is exposed to full sun and at the opposite end it falls into shade for the latter part of the day. This gives the opportunity to introduce a planting scheme that runs from hot vibrant colours into cooler hues.
This is the second of our Yew hedged garden rooms. We have begun the restoration of this garden, it is a square ‘room’ with plants laid out in concentric circles radiated out from the sun dial at it’s centre. We have removed shrubs that had self-seeded and will be restoring the symmetry where it has been lost. Unfortunately, much of the borders are under siege from perennial weeds and we will be taking our time to clean the soil to get the Square Garden back to it’s prime.
The is a lovely south facing area of the gardens, the border behind the Pavillion was cleared of thuggish ground cover plants and a wider selection of plants introduced, giving a longer season of interest.
The small alcove of borders enveloping an octagonal patio, with the old stone font as its centrepiece, is home to topiary box, sprays of Stipa gigantea and spires of beautiful Bearded Iris. We hope to add to the structure of this garden to create the feel of the Mediterranean.
Once an overgrown, almost impassable part of the gardens, this is now the main route into the Kitchen Garden half of The Walled Garden. Once we had brought this area back into shape we were able to see how this corner of the garden came in to its own in the Autumn. As one walks from the main lawn through to the Kitchen garden on a fine autumn afternoon, one is treated to a wonderful display of autumn foliage, the Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’, Viburnum species and Euonymous alatus appear to glow as they reflect the fading light of the day.
This was laid out in 2015 and is where we grow produce to supplement the Dovecote Café. We grow, fruit, vegetables and cut flowers, with all produce going into the café. The vegetables and cut flowers are raised from seed in our propagation polytunnel.
Farm and Family Area
This area of the garden is for fun and wildlife, where families can play, picnic and meet a few of the creatures we have on site. In time we will create more habitats for wildlife so that this wilder side of the stream compliments and benefits the more formal and productive Kitchen Garden side. We have created a willow plantation that will be harvested to make woven products to sell in to Plant Shop. This will, as it matures, become an extension to the play area, with living willow tunnels and arches to explore. Between the willow plantation and the animal pens lies what looks like a patch of waste ground, with old bricks and slate left abandoned. Which it is, but hiding amongst those stones we have a colony of Common Lizards that can be seen on a sunny days basking on those sun warmed slates!