Thursday's Child: Cawdor Castle gardens

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cawdor Castle gardens: photo credit of Casa Coniglio

I admit it.  I’m a bit of a romantic when it comes to travel.  As much as I love to see places that are beautiful or interesting, I love it even more when I can visit a place with a great back-story.

So the year we went to Scotland, it was almost preordained that we’d visit Cawdor Castle.  Cawdor Castle was the fictional home of Macbeth.  I always loved that play – the drama, the guilt, and the eventual victory of good over evil.  (I like it so much, there’s actually a small Macbeth reference in my last book, The Witch of Bloor Street!)

Truth and history sometimes collide.  Reading the guidebooks before we left, I knew that it was impossible that Macbeth had ever actually lived there, but in my imagination anything is possible.  And Shakespeare had written his play based on the belief that Macbeth was the Thane of Cawdor.

So it was with a mix of reality and fantasy that we stopped at the castle that warm August day.

Now the only problem with romantic ideals is that it’s sometimes difficult to impose them on the rest of your family.  (Remember what happened when we visited the Temple of Artemis?)  The girls were ten and seven when we travelled to Scotland and, sadly, wouldn’t have cared if Lady Macbeth herself had greeted us at the drawbridge.  A less interested family would have been difficult to find.  And, to be fair, how would most seven-year-olds respond to, “This castle wasn’t the home of a play you’ve never seen”?

That’s why I was so thankful for the gardens at Cawdor.  It seemed almost impossible that a greying castle in northern Scotland could be backed by three such lovely gardens.  The oldest, the Walled Garden, dates back to 1620 and includes orchards, vegetable gardens, and a holly maze.  The Wild Garden is a collection of bushes and woodland, and includes five nature trails.  And the Flower Garden, which was envisioned in 1710 by the real thane of Cawdor, bursts with colour.
Photo credit Casa Coniglio
Photo credit Cawdor Castle

Shakespeare wrote of the castle: “the air/ Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself/ Unto our gentle senses”.  The history may be wrong, but the inspiration is completely right.

Playing in the garden, happy at last.


43 comments:

Belinda said...

I love how you take me away on a little garden jaunt somewhere for a bit every week.

theresalwaysthyme said...

Beautiful gardens! I have uninterested tourists at times, too, but I am sure when they are older they will remember and appreciate it in the long run :)

Michelle Gregory said...

lovely. i love gardens, organized or rambling.

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

I've never been to Scotland but your post made me what to go there asap! Beautiful gardens, beautiful place... and I love Macbeth also, so that is a plus!

Valerie said...

Beth, I wish I could have been there with you! One of my numerously-indecisive college majors was Shakespearean literature. And even though The Tempest is my favourite play, Macbeth is not far behind. How exciting to have practically stepped foot into the play! :-)

Faith said...

My mom is from Scotland and I'd love to visit there one day! I love the nature over there.. it just feels right. The pictures are amazing Beth.. you're a very lucky lady.

Rita said...

I have never been to Sctoland, but it does sound like a romantic place full of history. What fantastic pictures; I am so anxious to see green grass and flowers.
Rita

Janet Johnson said...

You're turning me into a garden lover. I want one just like this when I'm rich and own lots of land!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

How gorgeous and green! I feel like this is something from a fairytale. I love romantic places when travelling too

FOODESSA said...

I've never been to Scotland...hopefully one day. I'm a fanatic of gorgeous gardens. It also doesn't hurt the scenery to have a castle included ;O)

It was lovely to use my imagination to travel with you Beth.

Ciao for now,
Claudia

Jen Chandler said...

Ahhh, a much needed break! What a gorgeous place. Scotland is home to my husbands ancestors. We definitely plan to go there one day :)

~Jen

Katerina said...

I've been to Edinburgh and I fell in love with this city. Unfortunately I didn't have tha chance to visit the highlands and many places outside the city. I promised myself to go back. These pictures are beautiful!

Sue said...

I think I could be perfectly happy living in those gardens! So peaceful and beautiful!

Jess said...

How cool is that! My parents took us three girls so many places when we were younger, and I really wish that I would have appreciated them more at the time. Kids will be kids :)

comfortablydomestic.com said...

There is just something so romantic about castles and gardens. How can you not daydream about who might have lived there? I seek gardens in all of my (few) travels. Scotland in on our "short list" of travel destinations.

Beth said...

Jess, sometime I'll share a story or two about travelling when I was a kid. Children don't always appreciate what they're supposed to!
And Kirsten, I hope you do make it to Scotland someday. You'd love it!

5 Star Foodie said...

Such pretty castle gardens! I would love to go to Scotland one day!

Emma said...

How beautiful those gardens are! I love the romance of travelling, and there's nothing quite like knowing the history behind the place you're travelling/staying in.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

I'm with you. I love a good story behind the places I visit. :)

jillbert said...

Your kids will appreciate it someday and wish they could go back. I love castles and gardens, so this sounds like the perfect destination to me!

Carol Riggs said...

More gorgeous, gorgeous photos! And we had snow here this morning in Oregon. Good timing for this garden stroll. LOL

Jenn from Much to My Delight said...

I could only wish my parents had taken me to magical European gardens as a child! Lucky, lucky kids!! Looks so gorgeous.

Claudia said...

I was enamoured of Scotland. Your photos sing of its beauty. Plus you saw more sunshine than I ever did!

A Busy Nest said...

Beautiful gardens! The blondies look very good too!

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

Lady, I swear. Your description of Cawdor Castle and the surrounding gardens was unreal. How I would just love to have a manor escape like that!

Reeni said...

This is such a beautiful place! And I love the castle in the background - it transports you to another time.

Joanne said...

Those castles make such a beautiful backdrop to the grounds surrounding it. Those gardens are just stunning, filled with history and time and nature. Thanks for sharing ...

Angela Felsted said...

Wow, Beth, these gardens are gorgeous. How fortunate you are to be able to travel and see such beautiful places.

Mary said...

How wonderful to actually be able to see this place, The gardens are truly lovely. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

sweetpeaskitchen.com said...

I love seeing these amazing gardens...it is so nice to "get away" by looking at them! :)

Raina said...

What a beautiful place to visit. I would love to see Scotland some day. I find it so fascinating to visit old and majestic places like that; I can just imagine the people and how they lived. My daughter at that age would have wanted to know where the princess was..lol

Chow and Chatter said...

oh adore the gardens of Scottish castles miss home

Brownieville Girl said...

What a fantastic holiday ... and you managed to get some good weather too!!

Joanne said...

These photos look gorgeous and I think half the fun of visiting a place is imagining all of the history that has occurred there!

Heavenly Housewife said...

I have been to Scottland, but never to this castle, it sounds wonderful. I think maybe when the weather improves, I might ask hubbs to take me.
*kisses* HH

Lydia K said...

I love castles! When I went to England after college I went to see a couple. I guess I'm a romantic that way. Cawdor will have to be on my list of places to visit now.

julie said...

What a beautiful castle! And that garden! Your girls look like they're having so much fun!

LDH said...

Oh, those gardens are breath taking! My youngest daughter (19) loves Shakespeare and she would also like imagining with you. A splendid trip to a beautiful place.

Me said...

neat

Pacheco Patty said...

Beautiful pictures in the garden, I want to go;-)

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

I also visited this castle & this beautiful gaden in 2005! I love castels like this one!!

This brings back many memories!! So, thank you, Beth!

Jencrafted said...

I love English gardens and the photos are absolutely breathtaking. I must visit Scotland!

Amie Kaufman said...

Oh, they're extraordinary. We have so much of our travel in common that so often your travel posts are wonderful reminders of trips past. This one is inspiration for a future trip. One day, one day!

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