As Elizabeth Murray says, “Gardening is an exercise in optimism. Sometimes, it is triumph of hope over experience. Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as the canvas.” During April the weather should be on the turn giving way to day trips and opportunities to get stuck into your own little slices of backyard paradise.
Hopefully our regular gardening column will help you get to stuck into making the most of your outdoor space, but where do you draw your inspirations from? Locally Your Letterbox can think of one beautiful house with delightful gardens. A TripAdvisor review stating: “A truly unique place. A castle, a stately home, fabulous gardens and completely unspoiled surrounding countryside in one place.” It’s steeped in history and beauty, the perfect combination for inspiration.
Broughton Castle has been the home of the Fiennes family for the past 600 years. It was built in 1300 and greatly enlarged in 1550. It has a medieval Great Hall, splendid fireplaces, panelling, plaster ceilings, a collection of civil war arms and armour and… a 3 acre moat.
The formal garden to the south, laid out in 1890, features unusual fleur-de-lys shaped box hedges with Rose Grass, an Aachen and many other old-fashioned varieties of shrub roses in the surrounding beds. In addition there are four herbaceous borders planted with shrub roses, shrubs and a variety of perennial plants.
The designer of the formal south garden not known, though Gertrude Jekyll is believed to have approved of the design. The remainder of the garden was redesigned and replanted with guidance from Lanning Roper in 1970.
Stephen Lacey writes, “No wonder Simon Jenkins puts Broughton among England’s top 20 historic houses. Although only a few miles from Banbury, the modern world seems to have passed this moated ensemble of golden stone, sitting in its own private valley, completely by. Here is a rose garden as intoxicatingly planted and framed – by walls, water, lawn and topiary – as any I have seen. Fuelling a heady atmosphere like this takes skill, especially year on year – judging how blowsy to let things get, how big the drifts should be, what self-seeding to allow. Too casual an approach and the place would look a mess; too much meddling and the romance would be killed. Somebody here knows what he is doing.” (Daily Telegraph Magazine).
If you are planning a visit to this beautiful local place, please be aware of the opening times. Let us know what inspirations you draw from their gardens and how it guides you in your garden journey.
Broughton Castle Opening Times for 2017 are 2pm to 5pm (last admission 4.30pm):
Every Wednesday, Sunday and Bank Holiday from April to September 2017
Any day or time for booked parties and groups by prior arrangement.
Lastly we can assure you can also get an excellent cup of tea on your visit. After seeing both the gardens and the castle you might need a delicious break. On open days the tearoom is open from 2pm until 5pm offering tea, cake and much, much more! We also think this is an ideal opportunity to treat a loved one – a perfect afternoon’s delight, especially if you are looking for a gift that’s different this year!
If you are part of a gardening or art group the castle is also available for private groups (by appointment). The tearoom can offer hot drinks on arrival, light lunches, hot lunches, suppers and a variety of afternoon teas. A perfect opportunity for a gathering of the likeminded.