Chirk Castle Gardens are as lovely (even in March) as the Castle itself is interesting. As you can see there are lots of yew trees and hedges all clipped to within an inch of their lives. All the hedges and topiary are 130 years old – and it shows in places. They are almost entirely English yew (Taxus Baccata) and it takes garden staff 6 to 8 weeks to cut with electric shears. Interestingly, two tons of clippings are collected each year and these are processed to make a cancer treatment. In the past all clipping was done by hand but there were many more gardeners then. These days there are 3 gardeners plus a full time apprentice and a team of part time volunteers.
The Hawk House and Long Border today
The Hawk House currently displays pictures and information about the history of the garden which dates back to the 1600s. At this time Sir Robert Myddleton laid out formal gardens to complement the work he was doing on the house. A bit later the Davies gates were made and erected at the north front. They were later moved to their present position near the entrance drive. In the 18th century the garden was totally remodelled as was the fashion following the influence of Capability Brown, William Kent and other Georgian landscape designers.
The present garden of clipped yews and formality dates back to the late 1800s. During the 1900s a long 80m herbaceous border was established but this had to be abandoned during the second world war due to a lack of gardening staff.
As its name suggests the Hawk House itself originally housed a collection of falconry.
The Obligatory Pet Cemetery
I’m so glad that we managed to spend a whole day at Chirk and the visit was well worth while. We were very lucky with the weather since it rained all of the next day.