Garden and Pool
Dudmaston’s garden has year round appeal, with many different varieties of plants and a rolling landscape leading the eye across Big Pool and onto the Shropshire Hills beyond. The garden opens March - October.
The Labouchere's art collection spills over in the garden with Modern Art sculptures which can be seen throughout, including ‘The Watcher’ and ‘Space Frame’ both by local artist Anthony Twentyman.
The gardens themselves are a work of art in their own right including many features such as the herbaceous border, the rose border, bog garden, rockery and American border.
The contemporary plant scheme includes a mixture of perennials, including echinacea, aster, sedum, helenium, thalicrum and grasses such as misconstrues and stipa.
Guy Lory, Gardener-in-Charge advises that for large scale border, it’s advisable to plant in drifts to give a prairie style effect and at the end of the season delay cutting back plants such as grasses and sedum which provide food for birds in the winter and looks fantastic on frosty winter mornings.
There is a mixture of old roses such as gallicas and damasks as well as shrub roses (rugosas and modern) with a white, pink and red colour scheme. This border is named after Lady Labouchere who created it but, sadly, she never saw the rewards as she passed away only a few months later.
We advise that you prune roses in February and March and give them plenty of organic food as they are very greedy and provide them with a mulch to keep moisture in the ground through the summer months and weeds at bay.
Situated at the edge of Big Pool, next to the reed beds, this part of the garden is planted with stilbe, iris, primulas, euphorbias, bambous, ferns, eupatorium, acanthus, gunneras and Hhmerocallis (also known as day lilies).
The gunnera manicata, which originate from South America and Africa is a dramatic plant with its huge leaves that resemble rhubarb leaves. In the winter, we protect the crowns with the leaves after cutting them.
Following its collapse and repair in 2015, the rockery is undergoing a long term project to improve its diversity, beauty, and thematic relevance. This work has included installing a contour of lavenders and grasses at the top, a contemporary style which encourages bees and butterflies, and continues Dudmaston’s tradition of pushing the boundaries of artistic expression. Our gardeners and volunteers have cleared all levels, and implemented a clearly structured design.
Gardener-in-Charge Guy recommends rockeries are planted with drought-tolerant species. As such, the well-draining soils at the top are planted with Mediterranean species like Cistaceae, whilst the stonier ground below is now home to many Alpine and Norwegian plants, a reference to the specimens brought to Dudmaston by Geoffrey Wolryche-Whitmore.
Finally, the rockery’s lowest extent is filled with sun loving iris, Rachel Labouchere’s favourite flower, which create a burst of blue and green in early summer.
Work was undertaken last year to clear the south facing wall to allow more species to flourish. The prospect across Big Pool continues to be opened, and the best view can be found from the top of the rockery, where one can enjoy the summer colours and imagine the beauty that will develop over the coming years.
The border is planted with Mediterranean plants such as the rock rose (cistus), phlomis, erigeron lavenders, rosemary, potentilla and euphorbia.
Guy, our Gardener in Charge, recommends that for rockeries, plants with silvery leaves and fleshy leaves are more drought tolerant and so ideals for these garden features.
This part of the garden was originally planted with hybrid rhododendrons which come from America.
Many of these original Rhododendron where killed by the severe winter of 1981-1982 and this area was extensively replanted with plants such as rhododendron magnolias (which produce a wonderful creamy yellow flower in May and June), eucryphias and azaleas. There are also flowering cherry trees and Japanese Acers near the American garden.
Chat to the gardeners when you visit the garden and get tips that you can use in your garden at home.