The Woodland Garden where the original ‘kirk’ of ‘Kirklands’ might once have stood has lime, sycamore and maple trees. Initially we lifted the canopy of the trees and laid out the pathways and then over the succeeding years we have gradually added more planting areas. This is at its best from January to June starting with hundreds of snowdrops, hellebores and winter aconites. Continuing with pulmonarias (we have 18 varieties), wood anemones, rhododendrons, azaleas, ferns (60 varieties), fritillarias, ransomes, erythroniums, and trilliums. The colours are stunning. By the end of June the tree canopy has closed over and the herbaceous borders in other parts of the garden take centre stage. The wooden chain saw sculptures are by Peter.
For three weeks between mid May and early June the area at the bottom of the paddock, above the stream wall, is an ocean of bluebells. We have tried to encourage them by mowing and strimming after they are ready to seed which is often not until the end of July in this shady spot.
When we arrived at Kirklands there was a jumble of elms with their roots in the wall and much of the wall had fallen into the stream. Honey fungus has curtailed some of our tree panting plans, but a collection of Sorbus including ‘Joseph Rock’, huphenensis, cashmeriana, “Eastern Promise” and vilmornii are doing well. Two groups of three Betula utilis jacqumontii look good against the bluebell.
New planting further into the paddock area is an attempt to make this into a woodland garden with a focus on berries, bark and autumn colour.