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A Visit to the Wonderful Gardens of Powys Castle – 1

We are so lucky to be able to get to Welshpool within half an hour or so because here we find our favourite plant nurseries. Very close by is the National Trust property, Powys Castle with a most wonderful garden. We like to wander around late summer and early autumn when the flowering plants area at their best and trees and shrubs are colouring up adding an extra layer of interest.

The gateway into the castle courtyard, where the coffee shop is to be found, was most impressive with its stone archway towering above our heads. Passing through the gateway we noticed this little mysterious door, but the answer to its purpose was written on the wall.

      

The gardens are well-known for the colourful imaginatively planted containers and pots.

   

Recesses built into the massive sandstone walls were probably designed to hold statuary but now display most impressively planted containers.

The upper garden is based on three parallel terraces, each accessed by wide stone walls whose pillars supported more planted containers. From the terraces we were delighted with the views presented to us.

       

Even at the lowest part of the gardens we were delighted by the quality of planting in containers.

From the lower garden we enjoyed expansive views of the castle sat on its sandstone outcrop, giving it a look of power and dominance. The photo illustrates the need for terracing well and although functional the terracing gives the garden strong design.

 

In part 2 of this report on our visit to the gardens of Powys Castle I share share with you the different planting combinations and highlight some of the more unusual plants growing on the warm slopes.

 

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Another Yellow Book Garden – Tea on the Way

We enjoyed a visit to another garden which appears in the National Garden Scheme’s Yellow Book, the scheme which our own Avocet garden is a part of. We spend many an afternoon visiting our fellow gardeners who open their gardens for charity.

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In mid-May we set off through the Hope Valley near our home and on through South Shropshire through the village of Clun up a narrow lane that got more and more narrow and rougher and rougher until we reached a field designated as a car park for the day. The garden of Guilden Down Cottage awaited a short walk away. We soon realised that we knew of this garden already in its other guise as “Tea on the Way”. The cottage owners serve refreshments to walkers passing by. But on the day of our visit they were open to raise funds for the charities of the National Garden Scheme.

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At the entrance to the garden we spotted produce for sale in a lane side stall.

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We waited to pay our entry fee and order our usual tea and cakes to prime us for our garden exploration! I noticed a beautiful woodstore and beside it a sleepy old sheep dog.

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We soon began to realise that this was gong to be an interesting visit, perhaps not so much for the plants but more for its quirkiness and cheerful atmosphere. As we wandered towards a seat on which to enjoy our refreshments we spotted the first quirky artifacts. Even the seat we sat upon was home made and full of character.

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Once refreshed we took off on our exploration and first off found this well planted container. The planting around the front lawn looked lush and was set off by the bird bath.

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A flight of stone steps with rustic trellis either side welcomed us into the main garden. Being an organic garden we were on the look out for unusual ideas and gardening methods. As always though we were searching out the plants!

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Some plants were planted in interesting containers or within collections of artifacts.

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The kitchen garden was beautiful with a network of paths made from woodchip entered via handmade gates created using wood harvested from the garden.

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Close to the kitchen garden we found a polytunnel and a fruit cage and some signs of organic principles in action, an insect home, comfrey liquid fertiliser and worm pee fertiliser.

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A few more artifacts and craft pieces spotted at Guilden Down Cottage will end this post nicely.

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