Springtime at Stoneywell
With an array of herbaceous plants and over 150 species of rhododendron, Stoneywell's four acres of garden are worth a visit throughout the year. But they come into a world of their own in spring.
From the time of their moving in in 1953, Donald and Anne Gimson created much of the garden we see today, with the intention of creating colour all year round. This is almost achieved through rhododendrons alone with something in flower, often, from November to September. However when it comes to rhododendrons of course it is springtime that the majority of the 150 or so species and varieties are at their colourful best (shades recommended!).
While difficult to ignore, if rhododendrons just aren't your bag then the delights do not stop there, such as the sweeping meadows of largely native daffodils greeting early spring visitors. Followed by a carpet of bluebells in May, not only in our four acres of gardens but also in the eleven acres of designated oak woodland. Whether they be set against the young leaves of the copper beech or joined by the young vivid green bracken shoots - they are a photographer's dream.
Add to that an impressive flowering wisteria rambling up the rugged cottage wall, an emerging prehistoric looking gunnera in our almost prehistoric ditch, two eye-catching Chilean flame bushes fully ablaze in May and not forgetting the glorious magnolias!
And then there are the simple and more subtle features of spring, especially enjoyed after a long grey winter... greenery. Surely there's no better back drop for the show-offs to do their thing than against a woodland of freshly emerging oak leaves or lush bilberry on the heath. And to finish off the tapestry a gentle display of soft herbaceous planting, growing by the year in the reinstated beds. If a plant can possibly be more natural looking than another then the winner would surely be the delicate and beautifully-formed Dicentra formosa f. alba.
There are moments of beautiful birdsong symphony as well as times of peaceful tranquility, spirng is certainly a time to enjoy a stroll through these colourful gardens.