The year at Stody
The very early rhododendrons come into flower soon after Christmas but promise of the magnificence to come really begins in April when the first azaleas begin to show. At this time the camellias and magnolias seize their moment of glory while there is still plenty of green in the garden. Spring is truly announced by the swathes of different varieties of daffodils (mostly grown on the Stody Estate farm) that flow through all sections of the garden.
Seasoned visitors will come both at the early and late stages of May to enjoy the progression of colours throughout the month. The acid pinks, oranges and yellows of the early azaleas burst out above the spring bulbs and carpets of bluebells.
This is followed by the arrival of the more delicate evergreen azaleas which in turn are superseded by the large, vibrant blooms of towering rhododendrons. This results in dramatic islands of colour above the heavily scented, late-flowering Knaphill azaleas. The last colours from the rhododendrons and azaleas fade away in late June, leaving soft and interesting shapes and different shades of green. In autumn there is another flourish as the foliage on many of the azaleas take on a palette of rich autumn hues in which they are joined by the many acers and large, mature hardwoods.
Winter at Stody is a time for planning, pruning and general garden maintenance. Strong winds and the weight of snow on branches can cause severe damage – particularly for rhododendrons as they are shallow rooting plants. During the 2009/2010 winter, several rhododendrons as well as camellias standing 20ft high were uprooted and brought down, but many were replanted and nature has since repaired itself. Whilst damage like this is distressing it gives us the opportunity to replant and develop new areas for all to enjoy.
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