Many of you are close enough to still be able to visit the Castle grounds. For those of you who are too far away, we took these pictures on our grounds check, and hope you will enjoy taking a virtual walk with us.
Starting our walk, we paused to enjoy these Rhododendrons lining the drive. With their show of vibrant blooms they are always a welcome sight, and are at their most spectacular in spring. They provide a lovely welcome to Castle Visitors at this time of year.
Continuing along the path adjacent to the cliff top, we stopped to admire one of the many glades of bluebells which have sprung up in-between the trees and shrubs. Did you know almost half the world’s bluebells are found in the UK? They are relatively rare in the rest of the world.
Passing the natural playground, the hammock which is strung up between two trees was empty of occupants. It is normally too tempting to resist, and provides much fun and laughter, especially when tying to get out of it. Are you up for the challenge of a swing next time you visit?
Looking out across Christchurch Bay to the Isle of Wight, we were reminded of how lucky we are to work in, and care for, such a magnificent building with such beautiful surroundings. We never grow tired of this view, however many times we see it.
Crossing the Vista, we took a closer look at the Monkey Puzzle tree which was planted relatively recently. It is native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina. Araucaria araucana is the hardiest species in the conifer genus Araucaria, which makes it ideal for this open this spot. It is thought to get its curious name from a remark that ‘climbing it would be a puzzler for a monkey’.
Following the path that took us in to the secluded old walled garden we came across a carpet of dainty forget-me-nots nestling in the shelter of the warm, red bricks. The name comes from the Ancient Greek μυοσωτίς “mouse’s ear”, which the foliage is thought to resemble.
Exploring this area further we stopped to enjoy the sound of birdsong filling the air. With the absence of the usual day to day sounds normally heard around the Castle, the chorus seemed louder and more joyful than ever.
Skirting the newly renovated wall next to the Castle Kitchen, the recent replacement of some coping stones has restored it to its former glory. This will ensure the wall remains safe, and will continue to provide a cosy feel to the outside eating area.
Finishing our walk, we couldn’t resist a final look back at the intricate hedging in our Parterre. Our gardeners have done a great job ensuring it is kept in good condition. We also have them to thank for their continuing hard work, ensuring a lovely walk whatever the weather!