Lickleyhead Castle now has a rose garden! It's actually always been there but was more of a jungle than a garden previously and you would have risked being stung by nettles or being cut by bramble thorns if you wanted to see the flowers. We've retained such features as survived and kept the original layout, but added to the garden substantially and used contrasting stones/paving slabs to highlight divisions and bring out the colour of the roses when they bloom.
While there may have been a different type of garden previously, according to our sources the current layout of the rose garden was by a local man, a Mr. Smith, in the time of Maria Luz de Landa's residence (early-mid twentieth century).
Re-creating the Rose Garden
Feel free to relax in the rose garden at your leisure during your stay. It was unclear there was a garden there at all when we first arrived. Certainly there were roses remaining within, but they were hidden behind high walls of brambles, young trees and other weeds. The rows of bricks which you can see form the edging for the paths were buried under moss and I initially thought the path (singular) led straight to the back wall. After much digging and scraping, the layout of the pathways revealed itself. After clearing interminable numbers of roots, the paving slabs and the pink stones (chuckies), both recycled from other jobs, were laid. Then came more clearing, laying of mat, establishing the pond and many, many barrow-loads of white stones. Phew!
Unfortunately these are the earliest photos I thought to take. The paths had already been laid by this point and one of the beds filled.
One of the hardest choices I had to make as I re-established the garden was deciding which plants to keep and which to remove. Obviously the roses would stay, but it seemed a shame to remove the wild plants that had taken root in the years since the garden was last maintained. In the end only one was saved from the chop, the fairly well developed tree you see, a beech I think, (centre-right top photo) for shade. I console myself with the thought that the large area to the left of the garden as you enter it has been given over to native grasses and wildflowers and will remain wild.
Roses best viewed June/July Bumblebees pollinating Cleared and laid by hand
We've added a couple of Greco-Roman statues and a pond to give a loose theme to the garden. There is also a comfortable stone bench to sit on and watch the world go by.. A table near the entrance will eventually have chairs around it and guests can play chess if they wish.
Feel free to relax in the rose garden at your leisure during your stay. Your escape from the present day begins at Lickleyhead Castle!