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Visiting the garden at Dudmaston

Gardener working in the garden at Dudmaston Hall in Shropshire
There are lots of different character areas in the garden at Dudmaston | © Trevor Ray Hart

Discover a tranquil garden overlooking the water. Dramatic terraces lead the eye towards the Clee Hills and beyond. Dudmaston's art collection extends into the garden, so look out for sculptures designed by notable artists. The garden is open from March to October.

Things to see in the garden

The historic garden at Dudmaston is a work of art in itself and includes many interesting features such as the herbaceous border, the rose border, bog garden, rockery and American garden. Look out for the Laboucheres' collection of Modern Art sculptures which can be seen throughout the garden, including The Watcher and Space Frame, both by local artist Anthony Twentyman.

The herbaceous border

The contemporary plant scheme includes a mixture of perennials, including echinacea, aster, sedum, helenium, thalicrum and grasses such as miscanthus and stipa.

Lady Labouchere's rose border

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.

Bog garden

Situated at the edge of Big Pool next to the reed beds, this part of the garden is planted with stilbe, iris, primulas, euphorbias, bamboos, ferns, eupatorium, acanthus, gunneras and day lilies.

The Gunnera manicata, which originate from South America and Africa, is a dramatic plant with its huge leaves that resemble rhubarb leaves.

Discover the rockery

The rockery has been designed with 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.

The rockery is planted with drought-tolerant species: the well-draining soil at the top is 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.

Views from the rockery

The best view of the prospect across Big Pool can be found from the top of the rockery, where you can enjoy the colours whatever the season.

The border is planted with Mediterranean plants such as the rock rose (cistus), phlomis, erigeron lavenders, rosemary, potentilla and euphorbia.

American garden

This part of the garden was originally planted with hybrid rhododendrons which come from America.

Many of these original rhododendron were 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.

beautiful magnolia flowers
Magnolia in bloom at Dudmaston | © National Trust

Summer highlights in the garden

While there’s something to enjoy year-round in Dudmaston’s garden, here are some special highlights to look out for during your summer visit.

Best blooms in the American garden

As you turn left out of the Eternity Gates you will find a tree with white flowers, called the Japanese flowering dogwood. This tree has creamy petal-like bracts, with the tiny lower flower nestled in the centre, and is best seen in June.

In early July, look out for the Calycanthus foridus which produces lily-like flowers that are strongly scented. The leaves and bark release a camphor-like scent when crushed.

In late summer, look out for the Hydrangea paniculata, a species of flowering plant in the Hydrangea family. This is a large deciduous shrub with ovate leaves and cream florets, which become pink-tinged with age.

A summer of roses

Early summer is the best time to see the rose border at the back of Dudmaston Hall, as it blooms with 37 species of rose.

Sit awhile on the benches in the border and see if you notice the different and distinct scents. Individual rose scents are usually light and sweet but when planted together in a border, the mix of different scents is often heady and immersive.

A glimpse of the house at Dudmaston between tall trees in spring

Discover more at Dudmaston

Find out when Dudmaston is open, how to get here, things to see and do and more.

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