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Lowther Castle

In the late eighteenth century the gardens and setting of Lowther Castle in Cumbria were compared to the great Summer Palace in Beijing for their beauty.


GAP Photos/Carole Drake

Feature No:   4589 

Qty of Images:    69 


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By the time head gardener Martin Ogle was growing up in nearby Penrith in the 1980s, the castle was known as 'the spooky ruin on the hill', abandoned, overgrown and rather menacing. Over recent years, though, this sleeping beauty of a garden has experienced a remarkable renaissance and now bold new gardens designed by Dan Pearson weave in and out of the ruined castle and the evocative traces of gardens from the 17th and 19th centuries that surround it. The tapestry parterre is laid rug- like below the Castle's south elevation, the plants appear slotted together as tightly as the masonry blocks that surround them, or woven like the warp and weft of cloth. Within low walls of yew and Panicum virgatum 'Rehbraun', purple Salvia pratensis 'Indigo', pink Lythrum salicaria 'Zigeunerblut', and chartreuse day lily Hemerocallis 'Hyperion' echo the colours of the wildflowers in the meadows flanking the great central lawn above, including purple knapweed, deep pink rose-bay willow-herb and the acid yellow of lady's bedstraw. Dark, dusky plants reflect the Gothic mood that still emanates from the surrounding ruin such as tall Actaea simplex 'James Compton' with its deep foliage and cobra-like flower spikes, and Sanguisorba 'Tanna' bearing masses of dark plum flowerheads on wirey stems.



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