Into fantastic Powis Castle garden

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Today, we travelled from Portmeirion to the town of Welshpool on the Wales-England border to visit the famous garden of the 13th century, Powis Castle.

Powis is not a castle like others we have seen at Harlech and Criccieth; it is more of a grand country mansion that acted as a medieval fortress and has castle-like walls and turrets. Unlike other Welsh castles, such as Conwy and Caernarfon, Powis was not built by the English, but by Welsh princes.

Statues on balustrade at Powis.

Unfortunately it was raining all the way to the garden and during our first hour there. But then the rain stopped and the sky brightened up.

We started our visit by walking the upper terraces, built in the Italian and French style, with lyrical lead statues of dancing and frolicking musicians on the balustrade and large, handsomely clipped “tumps” – giant yew mounds – against the pink sandstone castle walls.

Statuary at Powis Castle.

At the end of the top terrace, we found the magnificent statue of Hercules slaying the Hydra, strategically and majestically positioned against an equally muscular 300-year-old yew hedge with bulging, rippling bumps and heavy, beefy curves.

Hercules statue at Powis Castle.

Against the orangerie, we found a large wisteria in full bloom as well as a corner smothered by a yellow-flowered Banksia rose.

Banksia rose at Powis Castle.

Inside the orangeries, there were containers with a variety of flowering clivia and in another section masses of fragrant white tender rhododendron flowers. Outside, gardeners were in the process of replenishing soil in pots containing lemon trees.

Towering boxwood hedges at Powis

We slowly strolled down the garden, through towering boxwood hedges, past an Empress tree in full bloom and came to the orchard at the bottom.

Honeysuckle pillars at Powis.

Here we were impressed by pillars of honeysuckles placed in squares filled with either black mondo grass or spurge or green and white variegated grasses.

In a large walled garden with a spacious lawn we found beautiful walls full of blue ceanothus and a border immaculately planted with white alliums and peonies. This border also had a lovely row of twig cylinders placed to support sweet peas. Very impressive.

Pretty side gate at Powis

The garden offers spectacular views in all directions – from the top looking down to the compartmentalized gardens below and from the bottom looking back up the hill to the Italianate terraces and the castle itself.

Corridor of treasures inside Powis Castle.

Inside the house, we found a bounty of treasures – famous paintings and tapestries and lovely wood panelled rooms containing various artifacts.

Nag’s Head for pub lunch.

From Powis, we went directly to the Nag’s Head for a splendid pub lunch and a few beers before heading back to our very pleasant lodgings at The Village in Portmeirion.

Tomorrow we visit some more gardens and see a little more of Wales before we leave for Dublin.

swhysall@hotmail.com

Clipped boxwood walk at Powis.
Wisteria on terraces at Powis.
Ceanothus on wall at Powis Castle.
Statue inside courtyard at Powis.
Long walk with clipped yew hedging framing bench at the far end at Powis Castle.

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