Magnificent flowers and foliage in the garden of Muncaster Castle at the foot of Eskdale; the castle is still owned by the Pennington family, who have lived here since the early 1200’s. Henry IV (of England) was sheltered here by Sir John Pennington after the Battle of Towton (1461). Muncaster Castle gardens feature a fine collection of rhododendrons and other plants collected from the Sino-Himalayan region, including primulas, irises, cotoneasters, camelias, anemones and acers.
The climate at Muncaster is said to be similar to that at 3350 m. in the Sino-Himalayan region, ie temperate cloud forest.
Muncaster Castle also features a collection of Birds of Prey: eagles, owls etc; in normal times there are displays for the public. There’s also a delightful woodland walk with the forest floor strewn with native bluebells, not the invasive Spanish variety.
Muncaster’s collection seems at least to have inspired whoever laid out the garden I have inherited here at Keswick; my rhododendrons are also in fine flower.