It is a common misconception that Arundel Castle is ‘just a castle’ with perhaps a private garden, hidden from the snooping eyes of the tourist. In fact this couldn’t be further from the truth and Arundel Castle gardens should be on every garden visitor’s ‘bucket list’.
The extensive grounds are dominated by the Hogwarts-style castle and nearby Cathedral. With gothic pergolas cleverly mimicking the arched windows of the castle, the rose garden ticks all the boxes for rose-lovers. Laid out in a uniform of 4 squares intersected with paths the rose garden makes a perfect start to the visitor’s experience of the castle gardens.
Beside the Fitzalan chapel, the lightness of the walled ‘white garden’ is a great foil for the dark stone walls of the chapel beyond. Here, the globes of Alium ‘Mount Everest’ and ‘Mont Blanc’ tower over ‘Iceberg’ and ‘Winchester Cathedral’ roses with spires of foxgloves and delphiniums bursting skywards beside frothy cosmos.
Wild-flower meadow style planting leads towards the Collector Earl’s Garden, an Italianate garden designed by Isobel and Julian Bannerman. A formal water canal and hornbeam pergola overlook ‘Oberon’s Palace’ – a seashell lined folly with stalagmite fountain, guarded on either side by tall oak obelisks, each crowned with a gilded ‘sun’. Surrounded by exotic planting including palms and tree ferns, the centre of the garden is a grass maze – a delightful mix of formal maze mown into fluid meadow grass dotted with the purple pom-poms of alliums.
WALLED KITCHEN GARDEN
Onwards finally to the gravel-pathed walled garden beside the Cathedral church, the purple and lime-green planting of the herbaceous borders spilling over the walkways with fountains and arch-shaped pergolas providing focal points. Traditional glass-houses, recently restored house exotics to supply the castle and a further vegetable and cut-flower garden is helpfully labelled so the visitor can see how the other half eat!
STUMPERY AND MORE
A new wild flower meadow within the walled garden features a thatched summer house which leads in turn to the stumpery garden where artfully placed tree stumps, sourced from the estate form a natural sculpture against exotic tree ferns and abundant planting including clematis, aquilegia and the glorious towering spires of echiums, reflecting the spires of the Cathedral beyond.