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.