Walmer Castle Gardens for Six on Saturday

I am in Kent, England this week, where we’ve had wonderful sunny weather – perfect for the seaside, perfect also for visiting gardens. The first we saw was Walmer Castle, an artillery fort on the Kent coast, built by King Henry VIII to keep the French and Spanish in check, but in the end the cannon was only ever fired against fellow Englishmen during the civil war. Woopsie!

The castle gardens are most famous for this fabulous long border – a very long border!

I think the backdrop of the hedge really makes this border special, shaped to mimic the contours of the castle perfectly. Compare the two photos below for example:

I also love the plants used as vertical spikes that puncture the more moulded forms of the hedge and some of the massed plantings. Above they have used Verbascum with electric blue Eryngium and the silver of Stachys byzantina (am guessing as there were no labels!).

Below a similar pattern but with Acanthus, globe thistle and dried allium seed heads.

In my own modest border at home I am struggling to get the plants positioned so that they correspond and flow together (and not be over or under crowded) but here they make it look so easy!

Apart from the Long Border, there were also some beautiful contrasts and colours in the kitchen garden. I would love to have a bold band of this Salvia:

Even the lettuces looked good – no slugs here!

The dry moat looked dramatic with these spikey plants (Cordylines?) and colourful contrasting foliage:

Hope you enjoyed the quick tour. There is a second glorious garden to show you – the legendary Sissinghurst, also in Kent – but that deserves a post of its own for another time!

These grand English gardens are deservedly famous the world over, but I got as much pleasure from the wild flowers and plants growing on the beach, so I will leave you with a few images of those.

Published for Six on Saturday

18 thoughts on “Walmer Castle Gardens for Six on Saturday

  1. Undoubtedly a beautiful garden, your photos certainly prove that. I could walk around there for a few hours myself. But discovering plants in the wild is and still remains the most exciting thing for me. Thank you for this report from Kent and I hope you have a very pleasant stay on the other side of the Channel.

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  2. It’s been a long time since we visited Walmer Castle and that part of Kent, but it is a lovely region. I love Sissinghurst too so I’m looking forward to your post. I remember a lovely beach walk at Rye Harbour where I learned a lot about the plants that grow in such a hostile environment.

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    1. I remember your post about the nature reserve in Rye and told my Mum we really must visit it next time – there’s just so much to see even in that little corner of Kent, it’s amazing.

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  3. That IS a cool castle and I love the artistry of the topiary hedge — mimicking the walls of the castle, as you said. The combo of three in the border does look great: verbascum, eryngium and stachys. Thanks for taking us on that beautiful tour, and including the wildflowers at the beach too!

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