Pucker Up


As the local golf course has been too wet for the Golfer for much this week, I took advantage of the morning sunshine and patchy blue sky to suggest we went out together for a visit or walk before getting on with shredding and planting jobs later. We have never been to Bluebell Arboretum, only a twenty minute drive from home, so this seemed like an ideal time of year to pay our first visit to the family run arboretum and nursery, created as recently as 1992 and now covering an area of nine acres. British native trees were first planted to provide much needed shelter on the site, within which hundreds of the rare and unusual plants in which they specialise were later added.

Most of the trees were helpfully named and many had additional background information, so we knew that this bunch of mistletoe in the car park was growing on a Tilia japonica, and not the more common apple tree host, but whether it arrived spontaneously is an unknown. I have tried the trick of inserting mistletoe berries into the bark of our apple trees several times without any success – luckily the Golfer and I don’t need mistletoe to share the odd kiss or two…..

We were warned as we went into the arboretum that the ground was going to be wet and muddy in places due to recent rain – and boy! were they right!! It is clearly situated on clay as there were pools of water around some trees, open drainage ditches across the site and a general squelchiness throughout, aided and abetted by the drizzly shower that began soon after we arrived and seems to have set in for the day, removing the likelihood of the proposed shredding and planting at any time later today. Despite the damp (ie sodden) feet it was still well worth visiting for the huge range of trees and the variety of autumn colour, particularly the large number of acers and lots of lovely bark, and being on the virtual doorstep it would indeed be worth regular visits (free to RHS members), but perhaps in more clement weather conditions. Specimens of many of the trees and woodland plants grown in the arboretum can be purchased in the attached nursery.


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17 Responses to Pucker Up

  1. lots of texture and colour in your photos Cathy, I can’t believe you have rain, I think of you as the driest place in the UK, I take it in spring they have a good show of bluebells too, Frances

    • Cathy says:

      The name is a misnomer in that respect Frances, as they don’t have bluebells – although people turn up expecting to see them! I am still trying to establish the average rainfall for our locality – from our own weather monitor I think it will be around 25 inches a year, but it varies very much over quite a small area and we certainly hadn’t had as much as this arboretum

  2. rusty duck says:

    Seventh heaven.
    I once bought a Cercidiphyllum off him at a show. It was huge. The only way we could get it home was to have the top down on the soft top we had at the time. Miraculously it even still had leaves after the two hour journey home, and thrived!

    • Cathy says:

      Did you get a photo?! I had to smile recently at a family trying to fit a very large plant into their car at the local garden centre, plus themselves – not sure if they succeeded!!

  3. Lovely images – the tree bark is spectacular. I wonder did you ever get your shredding done?

  4. Caro says:

    Lucky you, living so close to such a spectacular nursery! Fabulous autumn colour in your photos – I’d definitely be going back and will be looking this nursery up if I’m in Derbyshire (or need to order trees!)

    • Cathy says:

      It is still a young arboretum, Caro, but every year will see it maturing more – and it must have taken a lot of vision to establish in the first place. The range of trees is huge and it will have a great future, I am sure.

  5. Annette says:

    Absolutely delightful, this visit, Cathy – thank you! Is this Betula albo-sinensis? I’m sooo mad about trees and love arboretums. Just planted more trees this afternoon in spite of very soggy soil. Have a good weekend πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      The close up is Betula ermanii ‘Grayswood Hill’; the other one is a jacquemontii I think. We were at Batsford at the end of November last year which was lovely – Bluebell is a young pretender compared to that, but shows such great promise! What trees have you been planting, I wonder…?

  6. Anna says:

    Oh what fabulous seasonal colour Cathy and just as beneficial a constitutional for the Golfer as playing eighteen holes. Looks a great place to visit. Were you tempted by any plants at the nursery?
    PS Our routine has changed since the clocks went back. Himself can no longer fit in the rounds of nine holes that he used to play a couple of times most weeks with colleagues who finish work at 3.45pm. On the plus side he’s around more to share the cooking of our evening meal πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      It’s mostly trees in the nursery and I was too damp and chilly to have more than just quick poke around at the herbaceous things. The clock change is the opposite for us as the Golfer was going out before 6.30 again – that will soon change though – whilst I carry on with my usual early swim (x3) whatever the time of year πŸ˜‰

  7. Even thought the grounds were pretty wet the pictures were still quite amazing…Gorgeous fall photos.

  8. Pauline says:

    You found some stunning colours there, they are fabulous! Days out now are so precious, we have to make the most of a gap in the weather – hopefully !

    • Cathy says:

      You are right when you say these days out are precious at this time of year, Pauline. I am so glad we went out when we did, as it didn’t look like rain then but if we had left it any later the rain would have put us off going out at all.

  9. Pingback: Back at Boggy Bluebell | Rambling in the Garden

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