Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 29 September 2014

Powis Castle: At a Gallop

This is a writing experiment involving a story within a story. You can either read the pictures and their captions, or the plain text in between. You comments on whether this works for you are much appreciated - I wanted you to share in my garden visit and read about how it happened...

Part of the walk through the Powis Castle estate from Welshpool. This is a quieter (if slower) way to approach
the garden judging by the number of people I saw vs. the number of cars in the car park. There is also the
opportunity to spot deer and wildlife along the way and to understand the castle in its surrounding landscape.

We always have a fair share in deciding what to do on holiday. There are common interests to explore - such as looking at industrial heritage and drinking real ale - plus the selection of our own choices to visit together. I like NAH's noisy steam and he enjoys the peaceful contrast of a garden visit.

So our recent holiday in Shropshire saw us taking a return tootle up the line at the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway for him, plus a visit to Stockton Bury Gardens* for me.

A good starting point is to neatly sidestep the garden's entrance and peer cautiously over the low wall
which is found in the castle green area, where teas are also served. You can really appreciate how the
garden drops steeply away from the castle and how it dominates the surrounding countryside.

NAH was so keen to get going on the Welshpool and Llanfair visit he completely overlooked our day was in danger of ending just after lunch. That was until I pointed out the tickets were day rover ones. I could tell NAH was keen to swap stories with the friendly train guard we'd met, so my company would really be surplus to requirements.

We agreed to part for the afternoon whilst he rode the train again and I walked into Welshpool to get to know the town a little better. I was just debating where to have my afternoon coffee and cake, when I spotted some rather grand looking gates and sign at the bottom of a side street.

Once in the garden, the terraced borders have pictures of how Powis Castle looked in various
decades, so you can compare and contrast with today's view. It's garden history without tears.

It was the entrance to Powis Castle estate...

... with a sign saying it was just a mile's walk to the castle and therefore the garden. I had just one and a half hours before I had to meet NAH off the train...

... so what's a girl to do when presented with the opportunity for an unscheduled extra garden visit?

Naturally, I took a leaf out of Charlotte's book and went round at a gallop.

The terrace borders certainly had the wow factor, even in mid-September. I found huge cannas, bananas and
aeoniums sitting comfortably alongside the late season stalwarts such as dahlias, salvias and fuchsias.

I decided to focus on the terraced part of the garden. The bumpily shaped giant yews leaning comfortably over the walls always give me a fit of the giggles and the late season borders were magnificent. NAH and I had thoroughly visited this garden** on a previous holiday in Wales, so I didn't feel I was being short changed.

Besides it also gave me the opportunity to examine the glorious pots more closely. These had only just been planted up when we last visited on a June day. I think you'll agree September is a fine month to see them.

Yes, those fuchsias are in pots - burgeoning isn't a sufficiently descriptive word for Powis's pots.

My walking and admission time may have cut my visit down to a mere 45 minutes, but it was still worth it.

Whilst most of my views of the garden suggests it was still summer,
this view in the opposite direction showed autumn wasn't too far away.

* = the season's ended at Stockton Bury for 2014, so there'll be a delay before I blog about it.

** = Powis Castle is a rather poignant place for us as this is where we received the call to say my MIL did indeed have dementia. It was one of those calls where you never forget where you were at the time. As this was in the part of the garden I didn't have time to visit - even at a gallop - I'm a bit relieved I didn't need to face that particular demon.

A final look at some of the gigglesome yews and a tantalising glimpse of the formal
gardens beyond the steep terraces. A place to take you the next time we visit.


  1. The story within a story works just fine.. Doesn't feel an different to reading a magazine where there are insets and boxes separate to the main text...

    1. Thanks Leaf Encounter and welcome :) True, though with a magazine the eye can wander over the page and follow each story more easily. Here you have each story presented in chunks and I hope that didn't stop the narrative flow, particularly with the story about my unexpected visit to Powis Castle.

  2. I had to chuckle at your post title VP as the last time we visited Powis I had a poorly, most painful knee and had to use a walking stick to propel myself round in a most tortoiselike fashion. I could barely walk let alone gallop.I looked at/read both story lines separately and in tandem and came to the conclusion that they complimented each other.

    There's never an ideal place to receive bad news but I hope that you found a tranquil corner to digest it and comfort each other.

    I like the new blog look - have you only just changed it or have I been unobservant? What I've noticed tonight is that the left hand menu is shaking when I use Chrome (my normal browser) but it's ok in Safari. Will check again tomorrow and let you know. Could just be a one off although I did reload the page.

    1. Thanks Anna - the new look is a recent change. I felt the blog had got a bit staid. I'm sorry you've had trouble with it though - I've tested it out and Karen had a look on her machine & tablet whilst I was up in north Wales and we couldn't see a problem. I'll email you to find out more...

  3. Didn't work so well coming through on email as they picture captions looked v similar to the main text. Looks much better on your blog, though. I read through the text, then went back to the pictures.

    1. That's a very good point, thank you Helen. I had a look on my email subscription and see what you mean. I'll bear this in mind for email and RSS subscribers in the future.

  4. The left hand menu downwards from : "Thanks for subscribing to the Plot! :D" is still flickering on Chrome today :(

    1. Oh dear, that isn't good :(
      I'm a bit puzzled because that's part of the blog which hasn't been changed...

  5. Its looking good VP
    Erm, and no flickering on my computer using chrome.
    I am not a big fan of fuchsia - but I have to say the large pots full of them are amazing!

    1. Thanks Karen - it was great to be able to puzzle over this one with you there :)

      Those pots are fab!

  6. Maybe my iMac was playing up VP - no flickering tonight :)

    1. Phew, thank goodness it's sorted itself out. Thanks for letting me know Anna :)


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