Who do you think has a garden like this?

We have been away for the weekend visiting our son and dil. We were taken out on the Saturday, not to visit a garden as such, but I couldn’t resist peeking over the walls to see what sort of planting lay hidden.

Windsor Castle garden

It will probably be obvious to all in the UK where we went and maybe to some of the rest of you. It would be a bit tricky trying to weed this part.

Moat at Windsor

I wonder if anyone actually ever sits on the bench?

Lily pool at Windsor

Lovely pool with restrained planting, the armillary sphere is pretty good too, I wonder if that is real gold!

Garden at Windsor

It would be so nice to sit there as long as there weren’t any tourists around with their cameras and phones!


My nose led me to the beautifully perfumed honeysuckle that is growing up and over the wall.

Planting by the Tower

I would think someone would have to absail down to do the weeding here, but I’m sure she doesn’t do it herself! I recognise some of the planting near the bottom…..

Zantedesia aethiopica

Zantedeschia aethiopica just like mine, but she has more flowers on hers, ferns and hostas, just like mine, Meconopsis cambrica, again, just like mine and in the front , it looks like Miscanthus sinensis variegata, just like mine, has someone been copying my planting or have I copied theirs?!

Planting inside wall

Beautiful planting all the way up on the inside of the wall.

Close up

A bit closer to see some detail, it must be nice and sheltered in here, the plants must really enjoy their micro climate.

I’m sure by now you have guessed that this is Windsor Castle and I’m sure if any absailing is done, then it isn’t the Queen who has to do it! It is a long time since I visited the Castle, the last time I took a coachload of my woodcarving students, after the dreadful fire which destroyed quite a bit of it. We went to see the restoration work and I have no idea if the garden existed then as I was too busy shepherding my students around and trying hard not to lose any of them, no they weren’t children, they were adults but they still kept wandering off! All the restoration carving is looking very good, I feel that it is wonderful that we still have craftsmen and women who can carve and restore what was first carved many hundreds of years ago, the only way you could tell the new carving from the old was by the colour of the wood.  It was a really good day out!

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42 Responses to Who do you think has a garden like this?

  1. rusty duck says:

    What an idyllic spot.
    As it happened we were in Windsor on the day the castle caught fire (not guilty). It was dreadful to see it go up in flames. It’s good to know that it is being satisfactorily restored.

    • Pauline says:

      I’ll believe you Jessica! It must have been really dreadful watching it burn, but I can assure you that it is all as good as new, if you know what I mean. All the new carving has aged a little, not obviously brand new any more, it is all starting to blend in with the old, another 20 odd years and no-one will notice the difference.

  2. Caro says:

    Interesting to have a little peek over the parapet! I’ve only ever been past on my way to Legoland with my son; I had no idea it was possible to glimpse over the top. I’m guessing that you liked the planting as it’s similar to yours!

    • Pauline says:

      You could be right Caro, it was my sort of planting! I don’t remember all this planting when I was last there, I seem to remember a lot of grass, but then I suppose the grass was a problem to cut, maybe weeding on ledges is easier!

  3. Cathy says:

    I don’t think I have ever been to Windsor Castle but somehow it looks a bit incongruous having such beautiful gardens in a castle of that era, when many are just in a grassy surrounding – but I suppose it’s because it’s lived in/owned by HRH/not ruined! They look lovely – are they open to the public? Did you visit anywhere else while you were away? I have only just discovered the existence of Savill Gardens which are near Windsor too, as is Elder Daughter.

    • Pauline says:

      Cathy,I went to Savill Gardens a couple of years ago at Rhododendron time and really enjoyed it along with boggy planting by the stream and lake. I didn’t see anyone in the garden at Windsor, I think they must have been private, to enjoy when the general public had all gone home! I don’t remember any plants etc the previous time I visited, maybe Charles has been at work!

  4. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    I have to confess to not knowing where you were, at all. Although I have been to Windsor and Ascot when I was only young I certainly don’t remember enough about it to recognise so easily (we stayed somewhere in Ascot and I have fond memories of swimming in the hotel pool and loving the smell of their shampoo/shower gel. lol, odd thing to remember…)

    I have to laugh at you peeking over the wall to take photos! They are good though, as I didn’t realise at first glance at this post that you weren’t actually in the garden.

    • Pauline says:

      Sorry Liz, I assumed that everyone would recognize the Round Tower in the first photo. We were actually in the grounds, don’t worry we had paid to go in, but I couldn’t resist a peek over one of the walls, having seen some interesting vegetation from a distance! I was surprised to find such a long drop on the other side, maybe in days long gone by, it was the moat around the tower. I’m so glad I did look because it was rather a nice garden and that got me wondering who would actually use it.
      It’s strange isn’t it, the memories we have from our childhood and the things that trigger them off!

  5. Alain says:

    Beautiful shots. I don’t remember seeing any garden at Winsor, but that was a long time ago. Though I do remember very well the gardens at Buckingham palace where we went to a garden party (with some 4000 others) in the mid 70s.

    • Pauline says:

      Alain, I don’t remember them from a previous visit either, I think there was grass below the Round Tower then, but maybe I’m mistaken.
      Wow, you have been to a garden party at Buckingham Palace – fantastic!

  6. debsgarden says:

    Being on this side of the ocean, it took me a few pictures to recognize it! Imagine what our gardens could look like if we had only a couple of their staff to help us! (and a small portion of the owner’s purse would not hurt!) I agree that they must be talented absailers as well as gardeners. As lavish as this garden is, there was a hint of Real Garden in your third photo. Did you see the garden hose?

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Deb, I noticed the garden hose, it was almost as though the gardener had just popped inside for a cup of tea and would be back soon! If I had the staff to help, all my edges would be neat and tidy and there wouldn’t be a weed to be seen, that’s not going to happen though, so I’d better just get on with it!

  7. Cathy says:

    How lovely. And it does look very sheltered there. I’ve always fancied a walled garden! I had no idea there was a garden there. But I haven’t visited the castle since I was very young. I think I can spot some familiars from my garden too… the gardener has very good taste! 😉

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Cathy, it’s good to see that whoever decides the planting, has gone for plants that are happy with their situation, nothing too exotic, just plants that we can all buy from the local garden centre.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    Pauline, this was fun to see. It’s all very tastefully done. It would be nice to pause on that bench for a few minutes. Susie

    • Pauline says:

      I agree Susie, the bench looks very inviting, but not if there are hundreds of cameras and phones looking over the wall at me! After all the public have gone home, it must be a very peaceful spot, with lots of perfume hanging in the air from all the roses and honeysuckle.

  9. Christina says:

    Ah! Happy memories, we used to live near the castle and residents of the Royal borough had free entry so it was THE place to visit when anyone visited. I don’t remember there being so much planting on my last visit.

    • Pauline says:

      How fantastic Christina, to have had free entry whenever you wanted to visit! My last visit was probably about 15 yrs ago and I don’t know if I just didn’t notice the planting, I’m sure there was more grass covering the base of the tower, someone has been busy! Glad it brought back happy memories for you.

  10. Chloris says:

    I haven’ t been to Windsor Castle since my children were young but I don’ t remember any garden there. I wonder who designed it and when. It is lovely, with nice planting. I’ m glad you didn’ t topple over that wall in your enthusiasm to photograph it. It looks like a long drop.
    I love Meconopsis cambrica and I let it come up wherever it wants. Sometimes it appears in orange. When I was at Crug Nursery I noticed that they had it in red too. I would love some seeds of that.

    • Pauline says:

      It was a long drop Chloris, I got quite a shock when I looked over the wall. I seem to remember it as being all grass, maybe someone got fed up with cutting it on such a steep slope!
      I too love the little Meconopsis Cambrica and am still sprinkling the seed wherever I think I need some more. Funnily enough, I gave some seed of my yellow ones to a friend and all hers came up orange, maybe it has something to do with the soil? If you would like some seed of the red one Plant World Seeds has some, Meconopsis cambrica Frances Perry. http://www.plantworldseeds.com. They are only about half an hour from us and I’ve always found them reliable.

  11. catmint says:

    what a wonderful garden, and I must say that old stone and the castle makes a lovely backdrop. Dear Pauline, it looks like the Queen has been reading your blog, and instructing her gardeners to model the plantings on yours! I don’t blame her, I’d do the same if I lived in the same climate zone.

    • Pauline says:

      Oh Catmint, what a good laugh you gave me, thank you! The Castle is a super backdrop and the planting sets it off beautifully, someone has been very busy I think.

  12. Nice thought – the Queen reading your blog! But I’m sure she could learn something because you are so experienced… I’ve never been to Windsor (castle or gardens – lucky Christina going for free whenever she wanted!) so it was lovely to take a peak. It does rather look as if that sunken garden could have been the original moat, doesn’t it? Will store away the info about the red meconopsis seed from Plant World … very useful to have the link, thanks.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Cathy, I think the garden must have originally been the moat, back in the days when when one needed one! I think I too will have to see about ordering seed of the red Welsh Poppies, they would look nice in certain parts of the garden.

  13. What a nice cascade of colours and textures on the slope.

    I smiled when I saw the hose, thinking that would be a lot of garden to water by hose. Perhaps they were getting ready to fill the moat.

    • Pauline says:

      It is rather good NS isn’t it! I dread to think how many gallons of water it would take to fill the moat, hope she isn’t on a water meter like we are!

  14. Anna says:

    Oh Pauline it’s fascinating to have a peek over the other side of the wall. I’m glad that you were not mistaken for a member of the paparazzi. Perhaps HRH comes out after dusk to sit on that bench. I’ve not visited Windsor Castle since I was a child – have memories of a giant doll’s house which may have been the Queen’s. With a sister living in Maidenhead I must make another visit 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      With my tiny camera Anna, I don’t think there could be any mistake! I think perhaps maybe Charles has had a hand in the planting of the slopes, the plants create lovely tapestries.
      The Doll’s House was made for Queen Mary, way back in the 20th Century, we didn’t go to see that as I didn’t think that our two menfolk would be interested! Our son and dil now live in a village half way between Maidenhead and Windsor, we’re looking forward to more visits, exploring round about.

  15. Sally says:

    How beautiful! The history alone is mind boggling. It reminds me of how young the countries on the American continents really are! Oh, to wake in the morning and see those gardens…….and know someone was taking care of them for me!!

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Sally, it is all rather old isn’t it! But still young when compared to the ancient site which I wrote about in the post about bluebells a short while ago, that shows a settlement which dates back to 800 BC!
      I sometimes think how nice it would be to have someone doing the garden for me, but then I know I would want to be out there planting and working among the plants! Maybe they could just do the jobs I don’t like!
      BTW I keep trying to access your blog, but my machine can’t find you!

  16. Pauline–I think your guess about Charles might be right, he is rather adventuresome in the garden, isn’t he? But then, I don’t see any stumps, so maybe it is the Queen after all. It was definately planned by someone who loves plants! Thanks for the peek!

    • Pauline says:

      I agree Marian, whoever designed the planting has done really well, they certainly know what they are doing! I wasn’t the only one taking photos over the wall, but I think I was the only one photographing the plants and not the wonderful old buildings!

  17. I thought I recognized the castle although I have only been there once and not for the gardens. A beautiful sneak peak.

    • Pauline says:

      In my 70 yrs Carolyn, this is only my third time, the first when I was a teenager! This is the first time I have noticed some gardens, there is another little bit of shade planting just before you have to turn off to pay for your entrance. I love looking over garden walls, whether they belong to castles or small cottages, you can usually find something interesting!

  18. Jane Scorer says:

    A delicious little peep over the proverbial garden wall ! The garden bench was positively begging for a Royal bottom to sit on it !!

    • Pauline says:

      Jane, it’s amazing what you find unexpectedly, I hadn’t thought there would be any interesting gardens, I felt the planting if any, would be of the municipal variety, so it came as a nice surprise! I’m still wondering who sits on the bench, do the gardeners ever have a quick rest on it while no-one is looking?

  19. Sigrun says:

    Wow – that is a garden. I have always seen the Castle from outside – thank you for that wonderful impressions. A lot of work for the gardeners but beautiful.


    • Pauline says:

      Hi Sigrun, thanks for stopping by and leaving a message. Some people garden under great difficulty don’t they, but the result is well worth it!

  20. Peter/Outlaw says:

    How beautiful! Someone should really talk with Her Majesty about copying your planting ideas:) I hope you had a wonderful visit with your son and dil!

    • Pauline says:

      Peter, it turns out that her son Prince Charles is a very good hands on gardener, I’m sure he can give her some good ideas! It was a good weekend thank you, it passed too soon unfortunately.

  21. Frank says:

    What a surprise to see this garden there, I’ve only ever visited in pictures and none of them have ever hinted at such a secret garden. I guess the massive walls and battlement help hide it!
    The hose is the best part, I had to go back and search it out when someone mentioned spotting it but it really does add a bit of real life to this perfect garden. -still I wasn’t tempted to scale the walls for a closer look 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      I too Frank, have never seen any photos of a garden nor when I have visited in the past, I’m sure it used to be a grass slope, maybe they got fed up with trying to cut the grass! Last time I visited was about 10 or 12 years ago when I took a coachload of my woodcarving students to see the restoration after the fire and to another exhibition of carvings in London. I think that time I was too busy trying to keep my party together, I didn’t have time to look for flowers!

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