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More historic garden walks...
Theworld-famousPowisCastlegardeninWelshpoolisanothergreen
treasureworthunearthingforyourselfthissummer.Overhungwith
enormousclippedyews,tenderplantsandsumptuousherbaceous
borders.ThisItalianinfluencedgardenretainsitsoriginallead
statues,anorangeryandanaviaryontheterraces.
Inthe18thcenturyaninformalwoodlandwildernesswascreated
ontheoppositeridge.Highonarockabovetheterraces,thecastle,
originallybuiltc.1200,beganlifeasafortressoftheWelshPrincesof
PowysandcommandsmagnificentviewstowardsEngland.
It’sarguablyoneofthemostimpressivegardensownedbythe
NationalTrustanddisplayssomeofthemostflamboyantandstylish
herbaceousplantingofanygardeninBritain. a174 From here, it’s a reasonably short walk to the magnificent
Theterraces,shelteredbyhighwallsandwithastonishingtopiary Grosvenor Park.
–especiallythe14enormousyew‘tumps’whichoverflowdownthe “It was Richard Grosvenor, the Second Marquis of Westminster,
wallstotheterracebelow–giveaddedprotectioninwhatisalready who gave the park to the people of Chester in 1867
amildclimate.Thegardenisfamousforitstenderperennials, so they could have a green space in which to enjoy leisure time.
particularlyasilverartemisianamedPowisCastle,whichare “The Grosvenors employed Edward Kemp, one of the best
broughtintotheglasshousesoverthewinterandtaken landscape architects at the time, to lay out the garden and John
outinApril. Douglas, a favourite architect of the city, to do the hard
Thebestadvicehereistotakeinallofthegardenson landscaping, the entrances and the Park Lodge.”
anywalkingvisit.Theybroadlyconsistofaformalgarden
withlawns,awoodlandwildernessandaseriesoffour Avenue of mystery
600ftlongterracesthatdropdowninlayersfromthered Following the path around the edge, we reach the impressively
limestonecastlewhichloomsoverthelandscape. grand avenue leading to a statue of the Second Marquis of
PowisCastleheadgardenerAdrianLovatt,whohasjust Westminster. “As you can see, the park has been laid out in
returnedtoWelshpooltoworkonthecastlegardens,sayshe’s typical Victorian fashion with an avenue of hollies and lime trees,”
veryproudtocareforsuchaspecialpieceofland. says Yvonne. “The original plan was to just plant hollies, but after
“I’mveryexcitedhavingtakenupthisleadroleinsuchan about ten years, every alternate holly was removed and limes
importantandinternationallysignificantgarden–aswellas planted instead.
renownedplantcollection,”hesays. “The hollies are called Hodgkinson’s Hollies but there isn’t
AndgardeningisinAdrian’sblood.Hisfatherwasaheadgardener actually a variety with that name, so we wonder if it was a Mr
andasachildhelivedatDorothyCliveGardens,nearMarket Hodgkinson who donated them – it’s all a bit of
Drayton.Althoughnowinmoreofamanagementrolethana a mystery!”
hands-onrole,Adrianinsistshe’snotdauntedbythesheer Cutting across the park, we
magnificenceofoneofthecountry’smostfamousgardens. see wonderful floral displays
“Idon’thaveanymajorplanstochangethegarden,”hesmiles. and Yvonne points out an
“I’mthinkingofclearingsomeofthewoodlandandplantingsome impressively tall tree. “This
moreinterestingplants,possiblyrhododendrons,butotherthanthat is often called a Normandy
I’lljustbeconcentratingonensuringthegardenslookasgoodas poplar but it’s actually a
possibleinanefforttoattractasmanypeoplehereaspossible.” Lombardy poplar. It’s only
PowisCastlehassomethingforeverybody,sodonyourwalking 28 years old and a good
bootsforastrollthroughamagical,historicalgardenthisJune. example of what not to plant
•PowisCastle,Welshpool.Tel:01938551929www.nationaltrust.org.uk in your back garden! But it’s
also a good example of how
to plant a specimen tree with
some presence.”
Wandering around the
park, it is amazing to see the
variety of trees. “The oak
tree has a great significance
to Chester.”
“The Cheshire Regiment
has the oak leaves in the
cap badge. Sadly, that
regiment disbanded and
now forms part of the First
Mercian Regiment.”
Yvonne points out an
upright oak – “We know that
there are only a handful of a174
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