December is the month for Urban floral displays
(Flowers found in Urban spaces – a town square, a flower tub, a hanging basket, a floral clock or any floral display including a public park. And as we are approaching Christmas you could even share with me your town’s Christmas lights)
Colchester’s Castle Park is right in the centre of the town. Dominated by the castle, it provides a wonderful green lung for locals and visitors alike. On a very warm and sunny September morning I enjoyed a stroll through this urban space – so put on your walking shoes and come and join me.
Most impressive are the entrance railings and gates. (Grade II Listed). which are late nineteenth century.
The dominating Norman castle.
This bee display in front of the castle is very eye-catching.
Castle Park was opened on 15 October 1892. It is divided into the Upper Park and Lower Park by the Roman Wall that crosses through it east to west. The park spans an area of 11 hectares and is listed Grade II in the English Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Importance.
Roses were still in bloom in early September
The site once formed part of the Roman City of Colonia Vitricensis and where a Temple of Claudius stood in honour of the Roman Empire until the city fell to Boudicca in 60/61 AD.
Later, in 1076, the Normans built a castle on top of the Temple remains and it was once used as a prison where those accused of heresy and witchcraft were held.
(In the early part of the 17th century, the prison was used by Mathew Hopkins, Witchfinder General, to interrogate witches – A sign of a true witch was a part of the body where the witch showed no pain (Witches Mark) One of his techniques was prick the witch with a pin all over her body – when the witch did not scream he had found her mark.)
The Normans also built an earth bank which covered the Roman wall and a ditch to enclose the Castle Bailey. This is now a flower garden.
In 1727 Charles Gray, a lawyer, antiquary and Tory Member of Parliament for Colchester, was given the castle and surrounding land as a present from his mother-in-law to form a large garden for his house Hollytrees. He remodelled the earth bank and created a tree-lined walk which leads to the summer-house in the form of a classic temple at one end and a stone arch at the other.
A path leads down to the Mayor’s pathway where the Lucas-Lisle Memorial stands. The obelisk is the first memorial in Castle Park, dedicated to two Royalist Officers, Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle who were shot during the siege of 1648 at the end of the Siege of Colchester. Constructed in 1892 on the site where the men are thought to have been executed.
A tranquil spot is the Imola Garden Pond where dozens of large Koi carp give pleasure to many visitors (NB: During the cleaning of the pond in November the fish were removed and transferred to a large container which was vandalised during the night resulting in the death of 45 fish including all of the oldest, rarest and most valuable Koi Carp that had lived in the pond for many years. A youth, who was drunk at the time, was later arrested and charged for the crime)
There is also a sensory garden and a dry garden within the park and in the Lower Garden, a model boating pond.
Hollytrees House (Grade I Listed Building) was built 1718 and the garden and Castle grounds laid out by Charles Gray c.1729. The garden to south front is enclosed by original eighteenth century railings and the house is now a museum taking in domestic life and childhood in Colchester over the past 300 years.
Do you have a town park to share? Maybe your town has won an award for its public planting?
If you would like to join in with Garden Photography then please take a look at my Garden Photography Page. No complicated rules🙂
- Create your own post and title it December: Urban Spaces
- Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
- Add the tag “GardenChallenge” so everyone can find the posts easily in the WP Reader
- Get your post in by the end of the month. This is the final month of the challenge.
- Please visit the sites in the comments to see what others are posting.