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.
"Daffodils that come before
the swallow dares,
And take the winds of March
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.
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!
Under a full Moon
2 hours ago