Bridge at Mandy's Pool
This bridge over the outlet to Mandy's Pool is one of several carvings using local wood by Jim Partridge. In summer, this is a cool, peaceful area with a seat by the pool for those who wish to rest for a while.
Iris foetidissima
Iris foetidissima, like many irises, has a brief flowering season and the flowers, though not colourful, are quite pretty. The bright orange winter berries are the main reason for growing it along with the fact it will grow in deep shade.
Loch view
Loch Aline and the Isle of Mull from below the Keeper's Path. In summer, there is a seat here for garden visitors to enjoy the view. It is unlikely you would wish to dwell long in winter.
Jim Partridge throne
Jim Partridge throne carved in local oak. This fine seat is a bit off the beaten track below the area called "The Amphitheatre" and views are better when the trees are bare. It is well worth seeking out. There is another Partridge throne in the lower part of the garden, which is also easily missed.
I have never had the energy to learn to distinguish the different mahonias of this type as there is not a great deal to choose between many of them. They are, however, well worthy of a place in the garden with their large, glossy architectural leaves and scented flowers which last through much of the winter.
John Raven Stone
The John Raven Stone is near the top of the bank on the left as you walk to Mandy's Pool. Cross a small bridge and follow the path to near the top. John was a Senior Tutor of classics at King's College, Cambridge and a first-class botanist. See below for a link to more information about John Raven.
Young's Weeping Birch
Young's Weeping Birch is handsome throughout the year but to me looks better in winter. The young shoots are a claret colour and they really stand out when there is snow on the ground. It is also at its best, as here, backlit by the sunset.
Sunsets can be glorious here. A garden is not just about plants.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Daphne Jacqueline Postill
Daphne bholua "Jacqueline Postill" flowers from late winter into spring and has a sweet scent. Other scented flowers at this time are Azara microphylla, a smallish tree, Hamamelis mollis, the witch hazel and Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna, sweet box. The last one only grows to about 45cm so is best near the house or near nose level. On the pillar nearest the Garden Flat door is the sweetly scented Lonicera x purpusii
Winter. Although the weather is often harsh at this time of year, it is also a good time to wander round the garden. Once tree leaves have fallen, the fine shapes of some of them can be admired and views that were hidden by leaves are now revealed. Conifers and evergreen shrubs stand out much more so than they did in summer.
Fading flowers such as those of hydrangeas can look as good now as they did earlier.

For information about John Raven

Hover over thumbnail images to give a full size view with description.
Click the thumbnails to retain the image on the screen (exc Opera).
Thanks to Stu Nicholls for the gallery code

Photographs by Ian Lamb