1760 was a long time ago, especially in flower terms.
Plant and garden enthusiasts develop hundreds, if not thousands, of new plant varieties every year. Here at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens we try to grow plants that would have been familiar to the gardeners up till the mid 18th century.
Sometimes, especially with simpler plants and herbs, there has been little change; looking at old drawings and engravings you can easily identify some plants we grow today. Others have been refined and developed far from their origins. Flowerheads are often bred for brighter colours and greater showiness.
Here we try to get a balance between pleasing our 21st century eyes and maintaining a period 17th and 18th century feel.
For our spring displays we have a mix of modern and older daffodils and tulips. This year we are particularly pleased to introduce two stunning early flowers both as it happens, supplied to us by Thomas Etty Esq. of Somerset.
The narcissus poeticus albus plenus odoratus was probably around before 1590 and sometimes is called the double Pheasants Eye or Gardenia-flowered narcissus. It’s all white (albus) with a full and ‘plentiful’ centre (plenus) and very fragrant (odoratus). We hope you will find it peeping over some of our box hedges on the North Border. On a sunny day you may even smell it before you see it.
The second reintroduction is of tulipa sylvestris. Thomas Etty describes it as
“Violet scented almond-shaped lemon yellow flowers in mid April. Naturalises well in grass. Said, by some, to have first travelled to these shores attached upon the roots of grape vines brought from Italy by the Romans.”
Although ‘sylvestris’ suggests a woodland setting, we will plant them on the sloping bank
behind the Holly Walk, alongside the cowslips, primroses and daffodils. Magical!