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As the seasons change the gardens at Dalemain Mansion in the North Lakes, it’s not just the plants that are creating a new look this summer.
Visitors look forward to the blooming changes with snowdrops in winter, blue poppies in spring, roses in summer and apples in autumn. And this year they will also see new shapes and colours and variety to the garden.
Last year, there was a stunning wild flower spiral and a sleeping giantess earth sculpture both projects developed by University of Cumbria Horticulture students on an on-going partnership at Dalemain.
This year, Jane Hasell-McCosh, owner of Dalemain has joined forces with Head Gardener, Rose Harper and a team from the University of Cumbria’s Horticulture Department, headed by Shelagh Todd to create a stumpery.
Shelagh said: “A stumpery is similar to a rockery but made with parts of dead trees. They are normally planted with woodland plants and are great for wildlife.”
Other examples of stumperies include the famous Biddulph Grange Garden in Staffordshire and Highgrove, in Gloucestershire.
The Stumps used are from 200 year old oaks which lined the avenue on the ancient estate road between Dalemain and Dacre which is still a much-loved route for walkers.
Over the next three years, the stumpery at Dalemain will be developed and added to with woodland plants and ferns in the atmospheric surroundings of Lob’s Wood, a woodland garden developed by Gertrude Hasell who lived at Dalemain in the 1920’s. She loved amateur dramatics including plays by JM Barrie in which Lob a character in ‘Dear Brutus’ gives his guests a second chance in life by sending them out into his wood.
The wood at Dalemain is planted with hellebores and vincas and has magnificent views of the river and fells and it is possible that many people may think that it gives them a new perspective on their lives.
Jane said: “The wonderful thing about a stumpery is that there are no fixed rules and can take any form, It is an unusual way to use what might be considered to be waste in an artistic manner.
“Stumperies can be spooky but ours isn’t – it’s a logical development in a garden in which many trees were felled in the 1970’s. It’s about enhancing the garden without imposing something artificial. We are using materials directly related to the history of the house and garden and it is very fitting.”
Highlights in May and June are the extraordinary and magnificent display of Himalayan blue Poppies ‘Meconopsis Dalemain’ in the unique & peaceful setting of the Low Garden and the heavily scented collection of over 150 old-fashioned roses.