Monday, 12 May 2014
Charlecote Park - Part 1 and some Exciting Moth Eggs
I went on a mission to South Warwickshire last Friday to collect some rather special eggs from a fellow moth-er (more of the eggs later). I wasn't far from Charlecote Park so stopped off to have a look round the grounds, gardens and church.
Charlecote Estate has been in the hands of the Lucy family since at least the thirteenth century. Sir Thomas Lucy began building the house in 1551 and it was completed in 1558.
Edward Hurst's early eighteenth century statues of a shepherd and shepherdess
This tree with the lovely blossom is Cercis Siliquastrum.
There have been deer in the parkland since Turdor times. It is said William Shakespeare was caught poaching deer here in around 1583. The parkland at Charlecote was designed by Capability Brown.
150 year old Mulberry Tree
The Woodland Garden
A great playhouse for children :)
Time for lunch in the Orangery and who could resist a piece of this Chocolate Fudge Cake?
Wisteria was flowering around the house and the entrance to the Orangery which also had a delightful
display of flower-filled pots.
The River Avon runs just to the rear of the property and in the distance you might just be able to make out Hampton Lucy Church.
The Cascade where the River Dene joins the Avon.
Ivy-leafed Toadflax creeping along a wall.
I didn't go in the House on Friday but did visit some of the Out-houses - this is the Laundry Room
Three charming little pigs are being raised - they were running about like playful puppies
I would like to say that the blurred pigs in this image is intended to demonstrate motion but the truth is the pigs rarely stood still and the photo is the result of an exceedingly low shutter speed in the poor light!
Its lovely to see Hawthorn (or May) flowering everywhere and I saw my first House Martins and Swifts of the year whilst at Charlecote.
Before we left I also visited St Leonard's Church but I've already uploaded a lot of photos so I'll do a separate post on the church.
Treated myself to a (rather expensive!!) jar of honey and some flour from Charlecote Mill for breadmaking.
I bought this book many years ago and if you have visited Charlecote or plan to do so its well worth a read.
Mary Elizabeth Williams was an heiress from North Wales and she married George Lucy and became Mistress of Charlecote in 1823 when she was only 20. She wrote these delightful memoirs for her grandchildren when she was 80. The book details her life at Charlecote, the London Seasaon and a tour abroad and her meetings with Queen Victoria and Sir Walter Scott providing a wonderful portrait of life in nineteenth century society. Everywhere you go at Charlecote - the house, the gardens and the church - you can see her influence.
I couldn't resist buying this plant from the nurseries before I left- am hoping it will attract more moths to the garden.
And now to return to my reason for being in South Warwickshire. I had gone to collect some Emperor Moth eggs. I collected them from someone who has been rearing them for years. The idea is to raise the caterpillars which will become pupae in late summer. In a year's time hopefully some rather fantastic Emperor moths will emerge and you can try assembling the females to see if they attract any male moths which may the in the area. At this point in time I am a little concerned as the eggs were due to hatch this weekend but so far not one caterpillar has emerged!
Blue Tit Update
The final Blue Tit chick total is 7 from the original 11 eggs. They are growing well and the parents are bringing in plenty of food. However, this afternoon I noticed one of the Great Spotted Woodpeckers at the nestbox entrance hole. It can't enlarge the entrance as it has a protective metal plate but this won't stop this species trying to gain entrance elsewhere in the box. We've replaced the chicken wire round the nestbox - this has gaps large enough for the adult Blue Tits to access the nestbox but too small for the GSW to get through. This has worked in the past and the parents are happily flying through the gaps to feed the young. Previously the young have fledged successfully flying through the gaps but I'll keep an eye on it and when they are due to fledge we may remove the wire.