Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Walmer castle – the greenhouses, moat and gift shop

The greenhouses of Walmer castle were our next destination. They mainly contained exotic plants. This dark purple, almost black specimen caught my eye. I have no idea what it is. The flowers – or are they the plant’s actual leaves? – had a diameter of approximately 10 to 15 cm. The total height of the plant was little short of a meter. Can anybody tell me what it’s called and where it originally comes from?

There were some more common species too.

Before heading for the exit, which led through the mandatory gift shop, we took a walk down and around the moat. There were some amazing plants in this from the sea wind protected enclosure. Like this tall magnolia tree. The few remaining flowers were gigantic compared to the ones we have in Belgium.

This tree was really huge ...

Mats and Teresa ended our visit with a tour of the basement and the donjon. I didn’t accompany them as the sciatic nerve in my left leg was beginning to play up again, and I didn’t want to put extra strain on it by walking more steep steps.

One of the towers seen from the moat.
It looks a bit like a giant skull, doesn't it?

While my friends explored the dark donjon, I wandered around the gift shop where I bought four tiny jars of different fruit preserves for my mother. I also bought a nice and trendy carrier bag, listing the main monuments of the ‘English Heritage’ association. I now use it to carry my lunch to work. It’s very handy and attracts many curious glances from colleagues who try to read what’s written on it. It makes an excellent gimmick to start a conversation in the elevator or the underground car park.

Just for the record, apart from some bleak walls, there wasn’t much to see in the donjon; no skeletons of forgotten prisoners, no balls and chains and no torture devises … I couldn’t help but notice that Mats looked slightly disappointed…

This was my last post on Walmer castle (do I hear a sigh of relief?). The next time I’m taking you house hunting …


chm said...

I think it is an Echeveria. It looks very much like the Duchess of Nuremberg:

Two other links. One in English the other one in French:

Craig said...

Is it a black Aeonium? Which is a succulent. Try doing a google image search of this and it may be the same?
I like Donjon's too but I wouldn't want to spend more than 10 minutes in them!
Glad that your bag catches admiring glances..we're grateful for the UK tourism boost!

chm said...

Craig is probably right in thinking it is an Aeonium. Aeonium arboreum, from Morocco, belongs to the same family as Echeveria, that is Crassulaceae or succulent.

"Your" plant might be AEONIUM ARBOREUM 'Schwarzkopf'

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Purple Aeonium (Aeonium arboreum 'Atropurpureum') a succulant . I think it is a wonderful looking plant.

Louise said...

My daily newspaper featured this plant today in the gardening section and described it as an Aeonium Zwartkop. It is a succulent and has leaves all year round.

ladybird said...

Chm, Your first idea was very plausible except for the fact the the leaves on 'my' plant are more round-shaped. I did like the name though: The Duchess of Nuremberg, how 'chic'! :)
Thank you for going through the trouble of looking it up for me.

Craig, I guess you found the answer. As for the donjons, I like visiting them too, but the steps are often very steep and sometimes even slippery. Not the best situation for someone with a dodgy leg.
P.S. I 'll send the bill for my fee to the Britisch tourist board!

Anne, I really like this plant too, and wouldn't mind having one in my apartment. However, I've never seen one around here. Maybe I should go to the garden centre more often.

Louise, Speaking of a coincidence! Zwartkop, that's Dutch for 'Schwartzkopf', which is German for 'Black head'. A very appropriate name!

GaynorB said...

Love the look of Walmer castle.

I've never been, but I think it will be another one to add to the list of things to do and places to see!

Nadege said...

I don't know the name but I have it growing next to my garage door. I broke few pieces of and they are now growing.

Ken Broadhurst said...

We had the same plant in San Francisco, in our back garden, but green rather than purple.

ladybird said...

Gaynor, Walmer is definitely worth a visit, as there is so much to see and the sea view is fabulous.

Nadege, I've never seen this species in Belgium, so you are very lucky having one in your garden.

Ken, According to the internet the colour changes with the seasons: green in winter and purple/black in summer.