Rock Garden and Pool

The scenic background to the Rock Garden is an arc of trees on the high ground behind. Conspicuous among these is a specimen of the pendulous branched yew tree, Taxus baccata ‘Dovastoniana’ and two uncommon pines – a Japanese white pine, Pinus parviflora, and lace-bark pine, P. bungeana. Between rocks in front are many shrubs of rhododendron; azaleas; Acer palmatum; a Chilean fire bush, Embothrium coccineum, and a collection of pieris species and varieties; with lesser rock-loving species such as parahebes and hebes in crevices.

The gentler slopes among the sandstone rocks on the other side are planted with choice hybrid magnolias and other shrubs; with a wide selection of close-growing alpine perennials such as anemones, gentians, campanulas, primulas, alpine phlox and many bulbous or cormous species, crocuses, narcissi, squills, tulips and others in between; something for every month of the year.

The rock pool supports a variety of aquatic plants and some large, though seldom seen, mirror carp and thousands of tadpoles in spring! In the deeper water are hardy waterlilies, the floating leaves and flowers of water hawthorn, Aponogeton distachyus, and greater spearwort, whilst in the marginal shallows grows the stinking yellow arum, Lysichiton americanus, from America and clumps of the handsome royal fern, Osmunda regalis, as well as forms of Iris sibirica. On the lower southern fringe of the Rock Garden, a scree garden has been created, where the gravelly substratum supports a considerable collection of specialised alpine plants which only thrive on excessively free drained soils, such as saxifrages, lithodora, sedums, dianthus, phlox and many more. Under trees at either end are the two hardy species of cyclamen, C. hederifolium and C. coum.

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