We are almost half way through the year now so we were expecting to see some big changes at Croft on our May visit.
We made our May visit to Croft Castle on a warm sunny day so everything in the garden looked colourful and full of cheer. The leaves were fully out on all the trees and herbaceous plants were beginning to flower.
The long border we always pass as we make our way towards the walled garden is now lush with every shade of green with occasional splashes of flower colour. Our view from the long border towards the church and castle is framed beautifully by trees in full leaf. The Horse Chestnuts were in full blossom. They are beautiful flowers when looked at close up.
On the walls of the buildings close to the walled garden roses were in full bloom.
As we passed through the gateway into the waled garden we were amazed by how much the first view had changed. It simply looked so green and lush.
For the first time this year the vineyard at Croft was showing signs of growth with shining bronze-green leaves bursting from every bud.
We expected to see major changes as we walked through the blue gates to look at the greenhouse and the surrounding garden. Bright reds of poppies hit us first but close by these cute bantams were definitely new. We certainly found plenty of colour in the greenhouse as plants under cover were flowering way ahead of their normal time.
Leaving the greenhouse area back through the blue gates we could see that the productive gardens had made a lot of progress since our visit in April. Gooseberries were fruiting and rows of vegetable plants were now established. The sunshine brought out the colours in the borders along the walls.
We just had to stop to admire these beautifully pollarded willows, now regrowing strongly. The Cirsium rivulare was in full bloom and looked good against the old garden buildings.
Along the fourth side of the walled garden the light was so bright that colours seemed extra vibrant and exciting.
For the first time this year there was interest in the Rose Garden with groundcover beneath the roses in flower and indeed the first roses were open and giving the gift of their scent to anyone passing by.
After leaving the walled garden we wandered around castle itself where we enjoyed tempting views over the meadows to the lake and countryside beyond.
The open gate into the meadows was just too tempting for us. We followed a mown path through the wildflowers.
Croft is well-known for its ancient Sweet Chestnut trees. We were fascinated by the texture of the bark on this group.
Our next visit in June will be the half way mark through our year of visiting Croft Castle gardens.