I had a few hours to spare on Tuesday afternoon and couldn't decide whether to visit Marsh Lane NR or Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens. As it was so hot I decided to visit the Gardens in the hope I would find more shady areas there. It was with horror that I realised I have only visited the gardens once this year - I usually go at least once a month! Where does the time go to?
Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens began their development as formal walled gardens during the 17th century reaching their peak by the middle of the 18th century. During the 18th century Capability Brown introduced a more natural approach to gardens and landscape. The Bridgeman family, who owned Castle Bromwich Hall. were living at Weston Park at this time so the gardens were not drastically altered in the way that many formal gardens were. For many decades in the twentieth century the gardens were neglected and were only discovered by chance in 1982 when their importance was recognised. In 1985 a trust was set up to restore the gardens to their former glory.
The Gardens are very beautiful and exceedingly tranquil and peaceful.
"In green old gardens hidden away
From sight of revel, and sound of strife..."
Lady Bridgeman Garden
I really love the way the planting displays are changed each season so there is always something new to see.
There were lots of butterflies around the gardens - "Whites", Red Admirals, and here on Verbena bonariensis Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell. Unfortunately I couldn't get any closer for a photo without trampling all over the border so you'll have to enlarge the photo to see them.
My Lady's Border - always a picture in the summer when its full of perennials.
Echinops were covered in insects - bees, wasps and hoverflies. I have "buds" on the ones I've planted at home I can't wait for them to open to see what species they attract.
One of the yuccas is in flower. I am really thrilled that the one we have at home which split in two and looked as though it had died is now actually sprouting from the base as though its been coppiced.
The Greenhouse built around 1729 - at the same time as the walls that surround the formal parts of the gardens.
Bear's Breeches (Acanthus mollis)
I left the walled gardens to wander round what are known as the "Extra Gardens" where quite a few new features have been introduced since my last visit.
Sadly, I had managed to miss the new Orchid and Wildflower Meadow as the area was closed off and it looked as though they were cutting it down now the flowers have seeded.
As part of a Jaguar Land Rover Project a team from the company has constructed a new interactive wildlife friendly area which includes a Bird Viewing Hide which overlooks feeders, an area of woodland edge wild flowers and habitat piles. A great place for visiting school parties to look for wildlife - local school children also helped seed the orchid wildflower meadow and were due to make visits to check on the flowers and insects that visited them.
Poppies have been planted to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War (1914-18)
Renovation of the Mirror Pool has also been completed.
Back in the Walled Gardens I visited the Batty Langley Vegetable Garden which is based on a design by Langley from his book "New Principles of Gardening" 1728.
The Beneficial Plant Border was humming with insects.
Lots of honeysuckle growing over the old walls.
These gardens mean a lot to me - I used to play in the derelict, overgrown grounds when I was growing up in the area and over the last few years when I have had problems and worries over my mother's deteriorating health and looking after her house and affairs, they have provided a place to which I could escape to forget my concerns and recharge my batteries.
The gardens were looking lovelier than ever this summer and well done to all the gardeners, staff and volunteers who work so hard to make this a very special place.
My BBC Springwatch SOS Wildflower Trough (3)
9 minutes ago