the hot banks. Carpentaria californica, Eucryphia pinnatifida, various Olearias, Andromedas, Abelias, Berberises, Veronicas and many others are gradually filling up the banks and ousting quicker growing and more common subjects. The latter have served their purpose in protecting their slower growing and choicer brethren from rough, cold and cutting winds.

Working as I do almost under the eye of the public, I hear many criticisms passed on the garden, some favourable and some the reverse. Take one instance: I have heard the use of common gorse to furnish one portion of the slope criticised in this manner: "Fancy growing common gorse in the garden—why, you can find it growing on almost any common land. I wouldn't have it in my garden." But these sapient critics either do not know or else forget that it is in the use of some of Nature's most common plants, combined with improved and highly cultivated ones, due regard being given to the position they are planted in, that some of the happiest effects are produced. And who shall say that a great mass of gorse does not give a most beautiful effect when the sun shines on it and turns it into a veritable bank of gold. It is recorded that the great Linnams was moved to tears the first time he saw a field of gorse in flower, and expressed regret because it could not live in the cold climate of his native land. In Norman Tower garden part of the steep slope below the famous Round Tower is most happily planted with gorse. From its gorgeous effect in early summer, who would think it was rooted in solid brickwork? Just a few bricks here and there removed, a plant put in their place, a spadeful or two of soil placed round their roots, and behold the result.

In giving my advice as to what to get for the garden, I have ever borne in mind the old-fashioned plants and flowers which were favourites in English gardens long years ago. Rosemary and Lavender, Sweet Rockets, Sweet Williams and Sweet-briar, Old Man and Columbines, and many others are growing here. They give to the garden an old-time fragrance and charm which is very grateful to the senses of sight and scent. It is very pleasant going through the garden "when the eve is cool," or after a shower, to catch the scent of sweet-briar here, or lilac there, or maybe a subtle combination of odours which, defying analysis, awakens some long-forgotten memory, conjures up an incident or possibly a scene of childhood's days.

The garden is at its best during the spring months, when the bulbs and flowering shrubs, the rock and Alpine plants are giving their wealth of bloom, and again in early summer, when the roses are in flower. It is then much admired by and gives pleasure to thousands of visitors to the castle who can see it from the outside, as well as to those who are privileged to view its treasures at closer quarters.

In concluding this chapter on the Norman Tower garden, it is impossible to avoid the thought of how great is the contrast between what it now is and what it was but a few years ago. Then there were some hollies, lilacs and arbutus, with other common, almost wild, shrubs dotted about here and there on its banks. A few trees, a few self-sown flowers, and a small attempt from time to time at a formal style of carpet bedding. Now the same banks are adorned with many trees and nicely clothed with numerous choice shrubs. Terraces have been made, paths and steps constructed, low retaining walls built; arbours, fountains, bowers and pergolas have been designed to make the garden a place of charm and interest, a place to be seen in all weathers in ease and comfort, a place for pleasure, repose and privacy. All these, and many other features besides, help to afford most excellent opportunities for cultivating and inspecting many rare and lovely plants. Its shady lawns, its well-filled flower borders, its unique position in the very centre of England's proudest castle, all combine to make the garden, as one of the

poets says,

"A lovesome thing
God wot
Rose plot
Fringed pool
Fern'd grot

The veriest school of peace."

CHAPTER III

BAGSHOT PARK

Not long after the Norman Conquest, William I. fixed on Windsor as his principal residence. A vast tract of country to the south and south-west of the castle was retained by the Crown as a royal hunting park. Here and there in Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire much of this land to the present day is Crown property, though large parts have passed by long lease, sale or gift into other hands. Windsor Great Park extends four or five miles south of the castle, and a little further on come Bagshot Park and Heath. The history of Bagshot Park as a royal domain, therefore, goes back to about 1070, and from then and till comparatively recent times it was a favourite hawking and hunting estate of English Sovereigns. It is probable that there was a royal lodge not far from the site of the present mansion for many centuries. At all events, in Stuart times there certainly was a hunting seat there known as Holy Hall. Bagshot Park with the adjoining heath made an estate covering fifty square miles, the whole of which was surrounded with high deer-fencing. It was probably joined on to the south of Windsor Forest, and thus constituted a very large and important royal hunting ground. During the great Civil War in the reign of Charles I. it was disparked, and the fences were broken down and destroyed. For some years it lay waste and afforded shelter for numerous highwaymen, who took advantage of its desolate wildness to plunder travellers on the road from London to Winchester. After the Restoration, Charles II. replaced the fencing and once again stocked the park with deer brought over from

France. A few months after the accession of James II.,

32

THE JAPANESE HOUSE AND WISTARIA PERGOLA, BAGSHOT PARK

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