Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Powis Castle gardens, Wales

In the wealth of saved emails from penpal Neil, Powis Castle stands out as a remarkable building site. The medieval castle dates from the 13th century but has been improved and built upon until the present time. The gardens however are the real thing to see here.
Taking advantage of the hilltop site, the baroque gardens original to the 17th century, terrace down the hillside creating dramatic views of the castle in Italian style.  They were extensively restored by Violet Herbert, Countess of Powis, beginning in 1911 and becoming her life's work until her death by car crash in 1929.
Although a castle is essentially a fortress, a military stronghold, the multiple rebuilding of the structure and addition of expansive windows have created a palace over time.
I'm sure the original occupants wouldn't recognize their early home 800 years later.
Perhaps the courtyard entrance below which remains the most unchanged would appear familiar.
One can see why such an old fortress would be lived in for centuries -the views looking out over the surrounding Wales countryside are astounding.
And the views up towards the castle are no less impressive.
I love the way they shape all of the Yews -many dating from the 18th century which explains their size.
The last architect to work on the house in the early 20th century was George Bodley, primarily known as an ecclesiastic architect, who was a big proponent for a return to 14th century Gothic architecture.
Love the potted urns in the Aedicule above. (gotta break out the big words when you know them!)
The orangery at the base of the hill leads out onto the lower garden. From this angle it looks like part of the castle, making it look like a skyscraper.
Nothing beats an English style garden in the summer in my book.

I would love to know what this big purple bush is if anyone knows?
Lovely wisteria in bloom.
The house is a treasure house as well, containing the usual 17th & 18th century masterpieces in art and furniture as well as artifacts from Bengal, India collected by the Clive family. Pictures are not allowed of these as they are still owned by the family while the house has been in the possession of the Trust since 1952.
One can stay in a large house on the grounds called the Bothy as well as another smaller cottage off the kitchen gardens.
I know this was one of Neil's favorite houses to visit in GB and suspect it would be for you as well!
Read more about Powis Castle and Garden HERE at the National Trust's website.  Worth a look at the pictures, it is super charming!