Monday, 9 February 2015

A Winters Tale.

We have just returned to Our Garden@19 having migrated south for a week, to Dartmouth, unfortunately bitterly cold winds were there as well.

Looking across the river Dart to Kingswear.
This colourful planter was outside a shop in Dartmouth, we could not believe how fresh and healthy the Pelargonium leaves looked.

The weather forecast for Monday was dry, cold and sunny so we set off to visit Castle Drogo, Drewsteighton, Nr Exeter, owned by the National Trust. The Castle, closed until March, is under going a massive restoration project.
There are several walks around the estate, ideal for Murphy to get some exercise.

The formal garden described by the RHS as  “A major 1920s garden, made to match the last castle built in Britain, one of Lutyens' most remarkable works. Up on the edge of Dartmoor, the gardens are the highest owned by the National Trust. Sheltered within tightly clipped yew hedges, George Dillistone’s exuberant planting complements Lutyens geometric formal layout of granite terraces, steps and walls. The garden design reflects Lutyens’ Indian influences, derived from his work in New Delhi as well as his war grave work for the Imperial War Graves Commission in the aftermath of the First World War”. 

Walking from the visitor centre the first garden you encounter is the circular Croquet Lawn, formerly the Tennis Court…

…then a quaint Bunty House (an early Wendy House) set in its own miniature cottage garden...

...with clear instructions as to who is in control here!

There is a timber and thatched building known as the Luncheon Hut, which was used by the family for meals on visits to the site before the house was completed.

Stone steps leading down to the Rose Garden have Yuccas either side with the original Wisteria sinensis trained horizontally along the wall. 

The formal garden is Grade II registered and is a good example of the Arts and Crafts style.
The lower terrace comprises a lawn with square rose beds and paving to create a chequered pattern at each corner. 

Lutyens four corner cast iron frames, originally planted with weeping Elm…

…now with pleached Parrotia persica (‘Persian Ironwood’) trees are a unique feature…

…creating pavilions, underplanted with ferns and surrounded by yew hedges. 

The Upper Terrace, which runs down both sides of the garden, is planted as an herbaceous border, the paths are a geometric Indian pattern copied by Lutyens.

The slate edged corner beds are planted with Lavender and Herbs.

Leaving the formal garden via these impressive wooden gates...

...past some brave Snowdrops... the Rhododendron Garden, this was added later in the 1940s by Basil Drewe, with wonderful views across to Dartmoor…

…and the first signs of spring. 

A summer visit has to go on the calendar.

Passing through the plant centre I couldn't resist this Little Gem…

Sarcococca 'Winter Gem'

…and then it started to snow.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Castle Drogo in Our Garden@19, please leave your comments, I look forward to reading them.
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  1. Reading this I was thinking "I'll have to go.." Not far from me after all. And then I saw 'Plant Centre'.... :)

    1. Temptation is never far away! I think when the wisteria and the roses are in flower would be the ideal time to go.

  2. I remember a very happy day spent at Castle Drogo with the children some years ago, the national trust have managed the house well. I am looking forward to a return visit once the restorations are complete. The forecast is improving Brian, hopefully its going to be less windy.

    1. We have had some lovely sunny weather the last two days, it inspired the previous blog "A sunny day in Worcestershire".

  3. A part of the country we've only ever visited in summer Brian but it looks well worth the journey south west during the winter months.

    1. I would go after half term more places are open.


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