Thursday 26 May 2016

A naturalised dicentra at Castle Howard

Dicentras in Ray Wood

Hi Roger,

Here are the two photos I took this morning.  They are not very good but you might be able to identify the species/variety.


Dear Pete,

Thanks for the pictures; what a huge clump, perhaps forty foot across!
As you know it would have been planted by famous Yorkshire plantsman Jim Russell at Castle Howard, perhaps fifty years ago. What great work he did in experimenting with the establishment of understory in woodland gardens and arboreta. And he used herbicides - a man close to my heart - but it was in the days before glyphosate! 
I wish I had met him, I know his time overlapped with my own  in York but in those days I was too shy to make myself known to such a great gardener.

I am intrigued that the clump has retained its colour integrity. Normally self seeding  of dicentra leads to an unholy mixture! Perhaps Jim had access to an American native woodland clone? It is of course Dicentra formosa, the fat flowers give that away! 

I think I should put in a promotion for Ray Wood on my blog! Readers should put it at the top of their list when they visit Castle Howard. (Don’t talk to me about the house, the home of Brideshead Revisited, give me the wood!) 
Perhaps I should mention the wonderful self financed Yorkshire Arboretum on the adjacent site. Brenda’s sister Angela walks her dog there! I am looking forward to next months lecture when the zany mycologist is going to walk us round examining the tree fungi. I am told he gets quite excited. Yorkshire readers should come to their monthly lectures - open to anyone for three quid. As the word gets round they are becoming very popular! Readers can get details on their website


I wonder if Castle Howard could spare a small piece of dicentra?


  1. You shy!!!!

    I think the last time I went to Castle Howard was when I took a school trip there. Could be another one to add to my list of places to visit. It's a long list.

  2. But its true....
    I have overcome my handicap now!

  3. That is one impressive stand at Castle Howard. I think I would swoon over the gardens to visit the UK castles.

    1. Castle Howard gets lots of Canadian and US visitors. I believe Brideshead revisited was vey popular!
      Most don't have time to see Ray Wood but I know you would Donna!

  4. Many thanks to the no dig gardener for providing me with the contact details for Mick Needham. The positive result of what had been a convoluted search is the introduction to a great blog and wonderful garden!! I am looking forward to the open day.
    kind regards

    1. Great to meet you yesterday C
      It was certainly convoluted that you found that a google search for a craftsman brought you to my 2013 post about short posts and this found you my former neighbour Mick Needham and subsequently your speculative drive over to Boundary Cottage to find his address!
      Nice too that you found clicking through to comments was so easy, after your reservations. As you already had a blogger identity you have come in as yourself rather than 'anonymous'
      Look forward to meeting you again on Sept 11th Open Day


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...