Walmer Castle’s Broadwalk
By 1865 Lord Granville had succeeded William Pitt and he and his young wife began to make their mark upon the gardens at Walmer Castle, which had become unruly. The overgrown trees and shrubs were tackled, opening up places that had become dark and dismal and creating one of the glories of Walmer, the yew-lined Broadwalk.
The Granvilles, in thrall to the fashion for long vistas in the Italian style, commissioned a professional landscape gardener, William Masters, then in his seventies. He reacted with enthusiasm, drawing up an elaborate design for the border with flowering plants running in zigzags, like ribbons, along the entire length of the 80-metre border. It was to be backed by a high clipped yew hedge to set off the plants to their best advantage.
The Cloud Hedge
However, what you see today is something quite different. The geometric green wall of yew has evolved into an organic, undulating 'cloud' hedge, a result of a happy accident. The hedge was neglected during the Second World War, but the heavy weight of snow brought by the hard winter of 1947 made it even more misshapen.
Faced with radical pruning to pull it into line it was decided instead to follow the hedge's new contours and sculpt it into what you see today, an exuberant backdrop which compliments the relaxed planting of herbaceous perennials. The double border is superb throughout the summer with drifts of plants such as Bear's breeches ( Acanthus spinosus), spiked blue Echinops ritro, Goldenrod ( Solidago) and dark pink Persicaria amplexicaulis.