"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, 9 May 2013

Spring at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens

It was a beautiful warm and sunny afternoon on Tuesday so as I was passing I stopped off at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens for an hour.

My Lady's Border

Very late this year but the Gardens had one of the best tulip displays I have ever seen there. Did you know that in the hidden meanings of flowers as revived by the Victorians Red Tulips are a Declaration of Love, Variegated Tulips symbolise beautiful eyes and Yellow Tulips represent Hopeless Love?!

There was a beautiful patch of "Bleeding Heart" in one of the borders near the entrance. I first discovered this lovely flower at the Gardens.

Looking towards Melon Ground

Auricula and Geranium Theatre by the Green House

Green House

Unfortunately I had managed to miss the best of the fruit blossom in the orchard but the grass was speckled with Cowslips.

Cowslips often used to be called "Herb Peter" or "Key Flower" because the nodding flower heads were believed to symbolise St Peter's bunch of keys. Cowslips have been used to make wine for centuries (although hopefully not these days!!) and children have used them in the past to make cowslip balls and May Day garlands.

"Then came the cowslip,
Like a dancer in the fair,
She spread her little mat of green,
And on it danced she.
With a fillet round her happy brow,
A golden fillet round her brow,
And rubies in her hair".

A Chanted Calendar by Sydney Dobell

Shakespeare referred to them in a fairy song from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

"The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see,
These be rubies, fairy flavours,
In those freckles live their savours...
I must go seek some dew-drops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear."

There was still plenty of blossom, however, on the espaliers.

North-west Pier

Unfortunately, the Extra Gardens were closed on Tuesday so I couldn't go and check on the Snakeshead Fritillaries by the Mirror Pond or look for Orange Tips in Nut Ground.

I did see some Orange Tips around the gardens and several Holly Blues and a few "Whites". None lingered long enough for photos though.

Green Alkanet

Looking along the West Claire-vole towards Castle Bromwich Hall

The Secret Garden

I heard one of the ladies in the Vistor Centre refer to Melon Grounds as a Secret Garden - the beauty of these Gardens is that there are "Secret Gardens" everywhere :)

Wood Anemones or Windflowers close their petals at night and in windy weather and, according to folklore, fairies curl up inside for protection having first pulled the petals around themselves! What a lovely story!! I don't think I shall ever look at a closed Wood Anemone again without thinking of a fairy inside :)

Another of my favourite flowers at the Gardens is Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis). One of these days I will buy some of these for our garden to join the Bleeding Heart plants

Parterre and Summer House

"Daffy Down Dilly has come up to town
In her Yellow Petticoat and her green gown".

Lady Bridgeman's Garden

The planting here varies from season to season and I think this Spring's combination of colours is just stunning. I took loads of photos but sadly none did this garden justice.

I was really thrilled to see a Nuthatch in one of the old trees in the part of the Gardens by the Hall. This is the first time I have seen this species here.

Lots of dandelions on grassy verges in the car park. Whenever I see Dandelions en masse at this time of year I think of my father collecting bagfuls years ago to turn into the most delicious Dandelion Wine.

For more information on the gardens please visit www.cbhgt.org.uk or click on their blog link under "My Blog List" on the right hand side of the page.


Em Parkinson said...

What a lovely post. SO many beautiful flowers. I've never seen Bleeding Heart in a swathe like that - beautiful. I used to plant it with the white version....I can't remember what it's called....and it looked lovely too. Not sure it would survive up here.

the tulips were magnificent and I love your information about the Wood Anemone fairies. I'll never forget it either. Thank you.

Ragged Robin said...

Em Parkinson - Thank you so much for you lovely comment. Didn't realise there was a white version of Bleeding Heart - will have to look out for it. The 2 would look stunning together.

Glad you loved the bit about the Wood Anemone Fairies - I shall go up to see our flowers at dusk just to imagine what's curled up inside :)!!!!

Chris Rohrer said...

The Bleeding Heart and those cool looking flowers are featured again!! Love whatever daisy that is...but it's really striking. I've always wanted a secret garden:)

Wendy said...

Lovely photographs of some beautiful flowers. The Victorians certainly loved their flowers and symbolism and I enjoyed the folklore attached to the wild flowers. I thought about making dandelion wine, too, this year, but don't really have the time for collecting them at the moment, so I've left more for the bees and butterflies!

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks Chris - rather like Bleeding Heart flowers as you may have guessed :) If you mean the yellow "daisy" - its a wildflower (a Dandelion) flowers profusely at this time of the year. Sadly many regard it as a weed :(

Wendy - Thanks so much. I used to make wine and its very time consuming! Better really, as you say, for bees and butterflies to enjoy them :)

ShySongbird said...

Hi Caroline :-) What a delightful post! Really lovely photos too. I can quite see why you love the place so much and that comes through here, you have really done it justice. What a lovely display of tulips, no I didn't know what the different ones symbolise but I know the Victorian language of flowers is fascinating.

I grew Bleeding Hearts but they only lasted a very short time, I think I planted them in the wrong place. I did grow Crown Imperials in my sunny front garden and they lasted for years and looked very impressive as do the ones in your photo.

So sweet about the fairies in the Windflowers, I'm sure they're in there ;-) But did you know that Cowslips were also known as Fairy Cups because it was believed frightened fairies would hide in them! Shakespeare referred to that in his 'Where the bee sucks' from The Tempest.

My grandmother used to make Dandelion and Burdock when I was little and I can remember helping her gather the Dandelions. There was a tremendous bang in the larder one day when a bottle exploded, I think it may have been the Elderflower or Elderberry wine but could have been the D and B. All I remember was it made a terrible mess but of course I thought it was very funny at the time :-)

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird Hi Jan :) Thank you so very much for your lovely comment :) So glad you too find the Victorian flower language fascinating. As well as the very old book I've got on it given to me by a great aunt (think I did a post on it one February - last year?) I found another brilliant book yesterday lurking in one of the bookcases. Its The Complete Language of Flowers By Sheila Pickles. Its charmingly illustrated and has prose and poetry and flower meanings and folklore. Not that I am tempting you to spend money of course!!! :)

I planted 3 of the Bleeding Heart corms - the one I put in a pot is doing really well but the other two put in the herbaceous border are struggling and look nothing like the ones at the Gardens :(

I didn't know that about Cowslips - thanks so much for mentioning it! I shall be off to look at The Tempest in a minute :) Will be studying my cowslips even more closely from now on :)

Had to smile at your last para - I think some of Dad's used to go bang! :)

Linda said...

Such a beautiful post! Your photos are so lovely.

Ragged Robin said...

Linda - Thank you so much for your lovely comment - so glad you enjoyed the post :)