"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Thursday, 15 March 2012

A Walk in March around Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens

"Daffy down-dily
has come up to town
In her yellow petticoat
and her green gown"


I went a walk around Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens for an hour or so yesterday afternoon. It was cold and gloomy with grey skies but there were signs of Spring everywhere I looked and the daffodils are already putting on a lovely show.

There were a lot of birds about - all the usual species I see there: blackbirds, carrion crows, magpies, wood pigeons, blue, great and long-tailed tits, wren, robin and dunnock. It was nice to see a pair of mistle thrushes (possibly they already have a nest). A moorhen was on the North Pond - last year they bred here. Greenfinch, song thrush and bullfinch were great sightings and all new "ticks" for the list of birds I have seen at the Gardens. A great spotted woodpecker drummed somewhere in the distance both at the start and end of the walk.

I did see a blue tit with a beakful of nesting material near the Stumpery - this seems really early to me compared with nesting dates in our garden. I've had a look at the Collins New Naturalist book on British Tits by Christopher Perrins and he mentions that "Late March nests occur exceptionally, though these are mainly in gardens where nesting starts slightly earlier than in woodland." I will keep an eye out for further signs of activity when I next visit.

Crown Imperial plants are now in bud in one of the borders near the entrance. These produce beautiful flowers and later seedheads.

Melon Ground



"Daffodils that come before
the swallow dares,
And take the winds of March
with beauty".


Looking back towards the entrance

This should have been a photo of hyacinths but I managed to upload the wrong photo of an out of focus bud!

Daffodils in the North Orchard


Blossom in a hedgerow around the edge of the orchard

The maze is located between the Lower Wilderness and the Kitchen Garden. The exact age of the maze is unknown but it is believed to have been added to the Gardens in the nineteenth century. "It is a straightened mirror image of the trapezium shape of the Hampton Court Maze designed by George London and Henry Wise" according to the Gardens Tour Guide.

Lungwort is in flower in the Lower Wilderness

and one of the many pathways in this area of the Gardens

The Secret Garden

The South Kitchen Garden - all cleared and ready to be planted. This Garden is based on a plan by Batty Langley in his book "New Principles of Gardening" which was published in 1728.

For lots more information on Batty Langley and his work please follow the link on the right hand side to The Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens blog (http://castlebromwichhallgardenstrust.blogspot.com) and see the first blog posting in March.

Primrose Bank

I left the Walled Garden and went a walk around the more informal Extra Gardens. Here's a photo of the South Pond from the stumpery. Both this and the North Pond were full of frogspawn


Figurines on the Green House

The Upper Wilderness

Getting ready for the summer

Parterre looking towards the trellis surrounded site of a Gazebo

Castle Bromwich Hall Hotel

As I've mentioned before the only editing I normally do of the photos is cropping but on this post I have played around a bit with the brightness and contrast on the photos with an asterisk underneath. Not sure if I have improved the photos but it was fun experimenting!


ShySongbird said...

I have just, belatedly :-( enjoyed your previous post, lots of activity in your pond. I haven't seen a Newt for a long time, you are lucky! I am very tempted by the book you mentioned, I shall look it up. I am running out of places to keep my huge collection ;-)

What a lovely visit you had on this post. So many wonderful signs of Spring and my favourite wild and garden flowers in the same post, the Primrose and Daffodil :-) Lovely photos throughout.

Rohrerbot said...

This is a magical garden. And it would appear to be a bit of work:) Trimming, pruning, shaving....for those perfect hedges. But I could get lost here and like it:) You captured the essence of these gardens nicely. As for pics, I will crop and adjust brightness sometimes because the desert sun is pretty bright. I think it's perfectly fine to do if it's required. My issues are with the blurred images that don't turn out but I have to use them to illustrate my story:) Hope your week is ending on a good note. Chris

Ragged Robin said...

Shy Songbird - we are very chuffed with the newts in the pond (we had seen the odd one in the garden and pond over the years but last year we had about 18 - husband was over the moon as the one thing he wanted to attract when he put in the pond was newts!).

Know the feeling well about where to put huge book collections! I am not supposed to be buying any more until I have got rid of some! I did finally manage to pluck up the courage to ditch about 200 fiction books (holiday reading type) that even I had to admit I would never read again but the collection is still taking over the house :D

Glad you enjoyed the Gardens post.

Chris - I think the Gardens are a lot of work (they only have a few paid gardeners and rely a lot on volunteers). I love it there it so peaceful and tranquil and there is always something new to see whatever time of year you visit.

I get a lot of blurred images too especially with the telephoto zoom :D and I'm really struggling with focusing on the new macro lens!

Have a lovely weekend (and enjoy the butterfly pavilion!)

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens said...

Once again thanks for a wonderful post the name-check Caroline. You are a great friend to the gardens and it's much appreciated.

As for 'Tweaking' pictures for me is part of the fun of having a digital camera, you can do things routinely which in the old days would have taken a serious investment in equipment in the old days. Like the old days though, you can only save a good picture using the process. Bad pictures remain bad, sadly :)

Ragged Robin said...

Hi Graham

Glad you enjoyed the post. The Gardens were looking particularly lovely the other day with more and more Spring flowers appearing. Your CBHG blog is brilliant and deserves every bit of publicity it gets!

One of these days when I have more time I will try and get the hang of Photoshop - have magazine somewhere full of workshops!

Whenever I take my camera out and take 150 or so photos I remember the days of film when you took just a couple of 36 photos per film with you on a week's holiday and if you visited somewhere you could only afford to take a couple of pics and had no idea until they were developed whether they were any good!!:D. And the cost!! I gave up my non digital slr when we bought a digital camera as I just could not justify the cost of film and developing!

All the best

Graham High said...

I know exactly what you mean, and what about film / videos? Remember 8mm film and what a carry-on that was to deal with?

Early video cameras were not much better. They also cost and arm and a leg, were intrinsically unreliable, and it was murder to edit a presentation together convincingly without specialised (ridiculously expensive) equipment. I can't believe we live in the same world sometimes :) I just upgraded my camera's memory from 4 to 16 gig. Total cost £8, and my photo-editing suite is Open Source.

It's pity that I can't do the same thing with sound (as wonderful as some of those tools are). An awful lot of the videos I shoot at the gardens either have the wind blowing into the mic or an aircraft a full throttle passing over at crital moments. It's a constant pain as the things I film are usually one-off, so overdubbing won't work. I await developments, preferably on a Raspberry Pi computer!! :)

Toffeeapple said...

What a lovely tour, thank you so much. I do wish I had access to such a garden.

Ragged Robin said...

Graham - LOL - those old cine films were hysterical 40 odd years ago. There's still dozens of films at my mums from when my brother and I were little. Dad used to splice them together as each film was only a few minutes long. No sound, jumping film and the bulbs on the cine projectors were always going!

As you say the early video cameras were huge and astronomical in cost. David bought a brilliant video camera at Christmas with a superb zoom and its so tiny and relatively inexpensive too. Must admit I don't really take video myself (the digital slr doesn't ahve a video capacity). Another one of those things to attempt one day.

I've just been using the basic editing software that came with the camera.

Toffeeapple - many thanks. I go to the Gardens at least once a month so there'll be more photos later in the year.