Category: History

Year 6 Summer Leavers Special (New)

Transition to ‘Big School’ can be a nervy time for many pupils. The Gardens’ education department is offering a fun day out for Year 6 with a purpose.

A Taste of KS3 History gets the kids out of the classroom into the open in 10 acres of open space. Our historic garden gives us the opportunity to touch on topics across the KeyStage3 curriculum.

Sessions during the day include The Black Death and early medecine (our medicinal herb borders show the real plants), ‘Dig for Victory’ in our veg. plot and the opportunity to play like a Victorian on our Archery Lawn. They’ll also be the chance to taste ‘knot biscuits’ (shortcake based recipe) and carrot cookies (wartime recipe).

A day aimed at looking forward with confidence. £4 per pupil

Booking now  for weekdays (not Wednesday)

contact admin@cbhgt.org.uk, 0121 749 4100

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wild wild tulips

As well as some delightful period tulips and daffodils in the Gardens we have, this year, introduced the ‘wild tulip’ … the mummy of all those later fancy ones.

Tulipa sylvestris, known as the ‘wild’ or ‘florentine’ tulip is a species tulip noted ‘somewhere in Italy’  as early as 1594. Our suppliers Thomas Etty esq describes it thus

“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.”

Volunteers have been deadheading  the daffs along the Holly Walk bank revealing the wild tulips and allowing them to make their mark. A really special addition to the month.

Other varieties of note this year are;

  • the jolly scarlet and yellow of Kaiserkroon (‘kings crown’) from 1620,
  • the 16th century double white poeticus plenus and pheasants eye
  • and of the later varieties we have sneaked in – Queen of the Night tulip (pre 1939) and Rinjveld’s Early Sensation daff., 1926.

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Auricula …not a very prim primula

To celebrate our 17th century Gardens’ new ‘Auricula Theatre’ feature we are holding a day with specialist growers HillView Hardy Plants.

On Easter Bank Holiday Monday,  the nursery people from HillView will answer questions, give advice about growing, and of course sell you some of their lovely range of plants, which will be at their height around this time.

The Primula auricula is usually known as auricula, or by the folk names of mountain cowslip or bear’s ear. The upright stalks and colourful headed flowers were popular, and coveted,  from the early 17th century. Rare beauties were so prized that they were sometimes presented to a seated and expectant audience, appearing from behind a curtain, with many ‘oohs and ahhs’.

As growers became ‘enthusiasts’, this approach led to the practice of displaying the plants on layered shelving or within a framed arch – just like a theatre. Some ‘ auricula theatres’ were modest others,

Theatre at Calke Abbey

frankly, ostentatious.

As a 17th/18th century Garden, there would undoubtedly have been auriculas grown here.

by courtesy of the National Galleries Scotland

In the Music Room this summer we are displaying a reproduction of a flower painting (from around 1712, by Dutch painter Jan van Huysum). We already grow most of the flowers that appear in his picture … but not auricula. So…

Our, modest but authentic, Auricula Theatre will complement the season of mini-flower exhibits reflecting the picture in the Music Room.

Come along on Easter Bank Holiday Monday to find out more.

Part of our #GrowtheGardens fundraising this year.

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Hall, Church and Gardens tours

Birmingham Heritage Week this year runs from the 8th -18th September. So full of heritage is the Second City that it extends, by 7 days, the dates of the National Heritage Open Days .

St Mary & St Margaret Church 2 (Bradford Estates)This year we are working with St Mary and St Margaret’s Church and the hotel at Castle Bromwich Hall to offer visitors the chance to see all three historic parts of the Bradford estate.

There will be a guided tour of each site including (for those who wish it) a tour of the tower and famous bells in the church tower. Although the Hall is accessible to guests, this is a chance to see some of the magnificent plaster ceiling work and other areas not easily accessible otherwise.

Tours can be taken separately or in series.

The main series:   1pm Hall, 1.45 Church , 2.30 Gardens  (please start at the Garden entrance to purchase your ticket and tour ‘tokens’)

There will be second tours at the Hall: 2pm. Gardens: 3pm and the Church will take informal tours all afternoon.

Please note the Tower can take only 4 or 5 people at a time – ask the Church wardens on entrance.

Normal Entry fees apply  £4/£4.50 (plus Gift Aid). Tours free

You will be given ‘tour tokens’ to exchange at the entrance to each tour.

Can’t make that day? 

The Church will be open on Sunday 11th September in the afternoon for drop-in tours and trips to the tower…also as part of  Heritage Open Days.

..and don’t forget the Gardens have regular , free guided tours around the Gardens on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday (2pm) during the season.

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A bit of Castle Bromwich Hall Garden History

PeterClarke

Just the other day over on our Facebook Page, North Arden Local History Society left a post for us with this photograph.

This is Peter Clarke, first head gardener at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens in 1985, the year the gardens reopened. The Photograph from the Birmingham Mail…

I wonder. Does anyone remember the gardens back then? Do you have photos you could share with us?

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