Thursday 10 January 2013

Winter interest in Ray Wood

A mass-planting of Hamamelis × intermedia 'Pallida' in Ray Wood, looking fantastic and smelling delicious.
Today, for the first time this year, I paid a visit to the other part of my 'domain', the woodland garden created by James Russell in Ray Wood, adjacent to the great house of Castle Howard. It was a dampish but brightish day, and quite mild in the wood and I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of winter-interest grows there. Most notable is the grove of Hamamelis × intermedia 'Pallida', that old favourite with its luminous flowers and subtle but exquisite fragrance, glowing under the high standard trees. Ray Wood is most famous for its Rhododendron collection: winter is not usually thought of as Rhododendron season, but as the pictures show, the genus contributes significantly to the winter display in the interest of its winter stem colours, the shapes, textures and hairiness of the foliage, and even flowers.

Big bushes of Mahonia × media 'Charity' with Hamamelis behind.

Mahonia 'Charity' - free-flowering but sadly unscented.

Rhododendron dauricum 'Mid-winter' is in full flower. Rather a vicious magenta, but who cares in January/?

Gingery indumentum on the petioles and bud of Rhododendron bureavii.

The magnificent foliage of Rhododendron falconeri subsp. eximium.

Brightened by light drizzle: the bark of Rhododendron barbatum.

Betula ermanii 'Grayswood Hill'

The 'Thursday team' of Ray Wood volunteers take a well-earned break. They and the 'Tuesday team', led by Jan Hoyland and Jonathan Watkinson, are restoring and maintaining this important woodland garden.

Soft hummocks of deep Polytrichum moss on the woodland floor.

1 comment:

  1. Dear John.
    Fine photos. I have a 42 year old Hamamelis x intermedia in my front garden, and it certainly does emit its delicious fragrance, year after year, stunningly. It´s beautiful at the moment. Have a Mahonia too, however, it doesn´t yet have that many buds and flowers.
    Wish you a great weekend. BR, Iris.


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