Picton Castle and Gardens

February 2021

We hope everyone is keeping safe and well at home during these unprecedented times. Although we are closed to the public at the moment our gardens are feeling full of life with the first signs of spring beginning to bloom and our grounds providing home to many creatures great and small. In late January we had a thick dusting of snow around the grounds.  The castle really does look like the setting of a fairy tale when covered in snow and it’s still feeling pretty wintery this week with predictions of more frost and snow to come.

However, the first signs of spring can be seen throughout the gardens, bringing optimism of a good year ahead. There are crowds of snowdrops, periwinkles blooming and daffodils are cropping up everywhere. Picton is home to many varieties of daffodil, including the Tenby Daffodil, native to Pembrokeshire. This variety is much smaller than the giant headed hybrids that are so commonly found. They are usually between 20 – 30cm in height, with 6 petals, a delicate trumpet and are pale lemon yellow in colour. On Sunday 7th February the first open daffodil was spotted on the grounds and we think it must have opened in celebration of Wales’s rugby win over Ireland in the Six Nations.

Some of our more exotic flowers are also beginning to bloom; Japanese white and pink camellias are lining the path down to the walled garden and the first of the rhododendron flowers are beginning to open. We also have cute blue periwinkles growing against the castle walls. Our gardening team really are magic and they ensure Picton’s grounds are full of beautiful colour at any time of year.

Our Winter Garden has bright yellow and red Dogwood, that brightens up any grey days and the wonderful Goat Willow is looking particularly interesting at the moment with catkins that look like little parrots hanging off the branches. Our friendly Robins love to follow you as you walk through this area of the grounds.

Our hard working team of builders have continued to restore the walled garden. The site is really coming together now and the bothy buildings no longer look like the derelict shells that they were last year.  A large fireplace has been restored in the Gardener’s bothy and a new state of the art wood burner has been fitted in the classroom. Smoke can now be seen billowing out of the chimneys each day, for the first time in decades. The heat from these fires is helping to dry out the newly restored walls and the traditional lime wash, as well as keeping the builders warm while they work!

Landscaping around the walled garden is also coming along nicely. We will soon have wide pathways around the newly refurbished buildings, as well as the entire perimeter of the walled garden, making it easy for visitors to access the buildings and see all of the wonderful plant beds once they are finished. We cannot wait to see what our wonderful gardening team will plant, at the moment it is top secret!

Many more changes have been happening up in the woods with the expansion of the Owl Garden. We have even more exciting new arrivals from the animal kingdom to come so some plush new enclosures have been built for them to live in. Due to all these new developments the Welsh Owl Garden has taken the decision to officially add to its name, from now on they will be operating as “The Welsh Owl Garden & Zoo”, to better reflect what is on display. We are really excited to show our visitors all of the changes that have been happening and cannot wait to welcome you back once it is safe to do so. Pirate the Hornbill is wondering where the visitors have gone, he is often seen walking around the pathways of the garden looking for children to play with. Speedy the skunk has been enjoying a lazy lockdown, he has been eating more than usual and staying in his warm bed until late! I’m sure he is not the only one doing this!

With uncertainty around traveling abroad this year Pembrokeshire is looking set to become the holiday destination of  2021!  Enquiries for our holiday lodges are coming in thick and fast at the moment. Our lodges offer the perfect central location for exploring West Wales and our gardens provide the most idyllic setting for a fabulous family holiday. When staying in our lodges you can enjoy after-hours access to the grounds as well as other benefits such as a free castle tour (when they are operating) and discounts on the Mansion of Mystery escape rooms (when open). For information on availability and prices please email info@pictoncastle.co.uk or call our office on 01427 751326.

February is the month of romance and although we are closed and we are definitely feeling the love at the moment. With many postponing their big day,  the wedding industry is expecting almost double the amount of weddings to happen in 2022. Lots of newly engaged couples are enquiring about holding their special day here at Picton. Our castle and gardens are able to provide the most magical setting for a wedding and we are developing our wedding packages to accommodate different requirements. Picton lends itself wonderfully to a small and intimate family weddings as well as a large fairy-tale castle ceremony with marquee reception. Maria’s catering can provide the most exquisite wedding breakfast and Maria tailors the menu to each individual couple. If you would like more information on weddings at Picton then please email info@pictoncastle.co.uk.

We cannot wait to open our gates again, but in the meantime please stay safe.

Kate Barrett

The Picton Castle Trust

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