Here we are, walking between high, high hedges, the castle terraces in the gloaming above, and overhead, stars pricking the black. It’s quite a climb to the castle from the formal garden: several flights of stone steps, and paths wending between the ancient yew trees that have been sculpted into strange shapes over three centuries. On this December evening many are lit from within, so that as you approach they barely glimmer, but when you draw level they open up like grottoes, revealing contorted arboreal workings beneath the close-clipped exteriors.
And now for some treescapes and garden views that did not feature in yesterday’s post:
Time Square #11
As darkness closed in and yet another squall blew up, we slipped over the Welsh border and headed for Welshpool. We had hemmed and hawed up to the very last minute of departure: should we or shouldn’t we go; it could be muddy; the parking a nightmare; too many people; the prospect of getting soaked; nearly an hour’s drive on unlit winding country lanes. So many reasons not to go. And then we simply gave up the argument and set off.
It was not promising. The constant swish of wipers; rain that felt set-in; roads awash and headlights picking up flooded fields and burst river banks. But as we reached the outskirts of Welshpool the rain suddenly stopped, and ahead and high on its rocky promontory Powys Castle glowed like some fairy-tale bastion. And as it turned out, parking was easy; we were not mired in mud despite days of rain; and though there were plenty of visitors, we all soon lost ourselves in the castle grounds and it quickly became a big, magical adventure.
And not a little bonkers, I must admit – going round the steeply terraced castle gardens in the dark – the whole thing laid on by the National Trust as part of their season of festive celebrations at the castle. Anyway, here are a few other-worldly scenes from the night garden of this ancient Welsh borderland fortress.
…in the northern hemisphere that is. In fact UK gardening buffs say December is often the BEST time to plant them – before the real frosts, but after the temperatures have dropped. If planted in warm weather tulips can be prone to fungal diseases. But whenever you choose, they do need good drainage, and quite a deep planting hole. And they love the sun as they are plainly demonstrating here. So much to look forward to then from a pot filled with bulbs. And after yesterday’s monochrome studies of the field behind the house, I felt a blast of festive red was called for.
Time Square #1 For the month of December Becky’s set us the task of posting square photos on the topic of time, however we wish to interpret it. Please join in – as and when.
Scenes in old gold: the Priory parkland above, then the Linden Walk and Field and a view of Windmill Hill:
The Cutlins path, sheep and parish church:
And now the townscape as seen from the allotment:
And a touch of green: winter wheat sprouting in Townsend behind the house (you saw it being sown HERE back in October):
And in the garden: Evereste crab apples, Hesperanthus, and Foxgloves (still flowering today):
And on Remembrance Sunday, Much Wenlock marked the centenary of the ending of WW1 with the lighting of a beacon on Windmill Hill, an occasion (on my part anyway) coupled with the fervent wish that here at least was one lesson from history that the ruling elite might learn from, though it’s showing few signs so far.
The Changing Seasons
Japanese Anemone Wild Swan
Well, it has to be some kind of magic, foxgloves in November. And not just one aberrant stem, but several all set to bloom. And this after last week’s several frosty days. But what a treat to find it flowering outside the back door – its blushed peachy shades looking far too delicate for this autumn outing.
There are other treasures too. In the raised bed at the top of the garden there are delicate cascades of Aster Lady in Black. I bought it at the end of last summer, and it has just now come into its own. It doesn’t grow too large, but has dark stems and feathery leaves and a slightly unruly habit, and while the individual flowers are tiny, the overall effect is perfect for brightening a late season border.
And then there are still some crimson snapdragons and coral hesperantha:
Who would have thought – November and a clear blue sky – a perfect backdrop for Evereste crab apples and a few sprays of Verbena bonariensis.
Our October began bathed in the rosy glow of ancestral landscapes, the farm fields and vistas of four generations of maternal grandfathers, the millstone grit uplands of Derbyshire’s High Peak District. It would have been a hard life on Callow Farm, and especially for the grandmothers who would have managed a never ending round home and farm duties while rearing six or even eight children (the parish records suggest that many more Foxes survived into adulthood than were lost in infancy, but then yeoman farming folk would have been well nourished and well aired by comparison with most town dwellers down the centuries).
By the time we returned home, summer was definitely on the wane in our Shropshire garden although many flowers were still holding their own. Even now, the front garden beside the road is bright with helianthus, sedum, Michaelmas daisies, purple toadflax, small pink roses and the stalwart geranium, Rozanne. And out back in the guerrilla garden there are sunflowers and dyer’s chamomile with its bright yellow daisies. There are also Japanese anemones, hesperantha, zinnias, snapdragons and the shrubby convolvulus still on the go. So kind of the garden to ease us so gently into autumn.
Meanwhile, around the town and farm fields the change of season is more apparent:
And finally a glimpse of the priory ruins and the little tower on the Prior’s House:
The Changing Seasons: October 2018
Moats were once quite a feature of English manor houses in the late Middle Ages, though more to demonstrate affluence than as a defence against marauders. In case you missed the story and photos of our recent visit to this ancient lovely farmhouse, follow the links below.
An English Moated Farmhouse And Why It’s Still Here
The Thing I Didn’t Tell You About Lower Brockhampton Farmhouse
In the Pink #26
To my eye this looks like one inebriated bee, O.D-ed on pollen and caught here, flat-out among the rhododendrons at Rosemoor.
It was a year last May and we were on our way back to Shropshire from Cornwall after a very special event, the christening of Graham’s god daughter, and we decided the route home must include a deviation through Great Torrington in Devon, and thus a visit to the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Rosemoor. It is a magical place, both of itself and its setting in the River Torridge valley, and you probably need to spend a whole day there to do it justice; or better still, stay several days in Rosemoor House and so see the gardens out of hours. Here are a few of the RHS website highlights – not one garden but several gardens.
And here are some of my highlights, pink and otherwise, though we weren’t too lucky with the light. Click on any image to view as a slide show:
In the Pink #25