We always enjoy discovering what plants manage to grow in walls and marvel at how they get a foothold and seek out enough food. You can imagine how delighted we were when we came across this 50 metre long wall which was a garden in itself.
This garden on a wall was at Sizergh Castle, a National Trust property in the southern end of the Lake District in Cumbria. there were other interesting “wall gardens” here too.
The wall runs the length of the Dutch Garden and is constructed of limestone. It is now home to many very happy looking plants. They are a sort of hanging garden!
Along its top edge a narrow border adds an extra dimension to this wall. Forget-me-Nots in pink, white and the more usual blue provide splashes of colour. After enjoying the vast range of plants growing in the gaps, crevices and cracks of the wall a shelter with a comfortable seat provides a convenient resting place.
Within the gardens at Sizergh we found other examples of “hanging gardens”, one hanging from a flight of stone steps covered in alpine plants, presenting a colourful display. These decorative steps had been roped off to stop anyone using them and damaging the plants growing there. Many visitors stopped to take photographs of this mini-garden which I presume came about by accident. The plants probably self-seeded into the gaps between the stonework. Similarly plants have taken up residence on the side walls of the steps.
In the kitchen garden at Sizergh the stone walls that make up the sides of the old cold frames also became a habitat for self-seeded little plants.
The walls around the kitchen garden gave the impression of more hanging gardens for us to enjoy. Many of the plants in these walls were wild flowers of hillsides and cliff faces or ones normally grown on rockeries. It was interesting seeing thes plants growing vertically instead of as mats on the ground.
Ferns were particularly happy growing in the shade of the walls where they could establish themselves in cooler damper conditions found there.
These walls also had extra habitats added to them to encourage even more wildlife to shelter or set up home.
For my final wall I include this stretch of the castle walls themselves where little creeping daisies, Erigeron karvinskianus had settled in happily showing off its flowers in white and many shades of pink.
We were amazed to find so many plants growing in these walls at Sizergh and wondered how many thousands of tiny critters we could not see as well as small mammals and birds were also sheltering or living there in their own secret miniature world.