In celebration of Dorothy

PUBLISHED: 17:41 13 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:20 20 February 2013

This garden created by a loving husband now gives pleasure to visitors all summer long

In celebration of Dorothy

This garden created by a loving husband now gives pleasure to visitors all summer long

This month, we feature a rather special garden celebrating a rather special event. This year we've been previewing gardens open through the National Garden Scheme (NGS). The NGS offers opportunities to visit gardens across the land open for charity. In Shropshire, the gates will be open on more than 50 gardens this year. Most are privately owned; a few, such as the Dorothy Clive Garden we feature here, are commercial gardens which have special NGS opening times.
When, in 1940, Dorothy Clive was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, her doctor advised that regular exercise would provide some relief. Her husband, landowner and Justice of the Peace, Colonel Harry Clive, began transforming the land around their home near Market Drayton into a beautiful garden for her to walk in.
The Colonel employed gardener John Moore, to help convert fields and a disused gravel quarry into a more pleasing landscape. Sadly, just two years into the project, Dorothy Clive succumbed to the disease. Colonel Clive decided to continue the work and create a memorial garden. Moore and Clive planted in earnest and also converted the quarry into the appealing feature you see today.
In 1958, the Willoughbridge Garden Trust was established so that the garden would be preserved for the public upon the death of the Colonel. George Lovatt was the first head gardener, being replaced in 2002 by Paul Macauley.
When he took over, Paul was asked to extend the season of interest for visitors from spring through to autumn as about 40 per cent of the total number of annual visitors come in May to see the rhododendrons.
"The garden is known for its 'rhodos'," says Paul "but if it rains in May, we're in trouble."
Extending the season has meant planting spring and summer bedding plants in the borders and changing how they look more frequently than before. Paul has also added grasses to the borders and has created a gravel garden. In four years, he has planted about 45,000 spring bulbs - bringing the total to around 100,000.
The Dorothy Clive Garden has many different landscape features to explore. There's a woodland garden, alpine scree, a gravel garden and many mixed borders. In spring, there's the magnificent display of rhododendrons and azaleas. Summer brings shrub roses and a display of herbaceous flowers. After summer, autumn bulbs appear together with hips and berries.
This year is, of course, the 50th anniversary of the Willoughbridge Garden Trust and there has been a number of celebratory events. However, the largest will be the two-day Specialist Plant Fair on Sunday and Monday, August 24 and 25 (late Summer Bank Holiday). Fourteen highly regarded specialist nurseries, some of whom are RHS medal winners, will be selling their plants. There will also be talks on gardening and guided walks. Admission for this special event is half price at just £2.50, while RHS and NGS members get in free.
The Dorothy Clive Garden is open for the National Garden Scheme on August 12 and19.

Open: Until Sunday, September 28, 2008, daily from 10am to 5.30pm.
Admission charges: Adult £5, over 65s £4, 11-16 years £1, under 11 free. Pre-booked groups of 20 or more £4 per person.
Address: Dorothy Clive Garden, Willoughbridge, Market Drayton TF9 4EU tel: 01630 647237 www.dorothyclivegarden.co.uk
Directions: on the A51, midway between Nantwich and Stone, 2.5 miles from Woore.
Free parking. Facilities for disabled visitors. Dogs admitted on leads. Tearoom open from 10am to 5pm.



Open Gardens in Shropshire

AUGUST - Sunday 3
• Edge Villa, Edge, near Yockleton, SY5 9PY, tel: 01743 821651
Sunday 10
• Windy Ridge, Church Lane, Little Wenlock, Telford TF6 5BB, tel: 01952 507675
Sunday 17
• Little Heldre, Buttington SY221 8TF, tel: 01938 570457
Sunday 24
• Jessamine Cottage, Kenley, SY5 6NS, tel: 01694 771279

GARDENS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Dudmaston Hall Gardens, Quatt, near Bridgnorth, WV15 6QN, tel: 01746 780866
Woollerton Old Hall, Woollerton, TF9 3NA, tel: 01630 685760

BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
Ruthall Manor, Ditton Priors, WV16 6TN, tel: 01746 712608

Full details of gardens open for charity in Shropshire in 2008 as part of the National Gardens Scheme can be found in the NGS County Leaflet obtainable from good garden centres, bookshops, libraries and visitor information centres. Alternatively, send a large (DL size) stamped and addressed envelope to Chris Neil, County Organiser, Edge Ville, Edge, Yockleton, SY5 9PY, tel: 01743 821651 (who can also answer enquiries relating to the National Gardens Scheme in Shropshire).

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