Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014


Near where I live there's a castle. Well, more than one. There's Corfe Castle (which I've written about) and there's Portland Castle (which I haven't).
The definition of a castle is oblique. Maiden Castle (also not far away) is a series of grass covered ramparts where Celts held out against Romans (and lost). There's a mini version too - where I came across a thistle. And there's Sandsfoot - a little ruin of a castle built first as part of Henry VIII's coastal defences. It's mostly fallen into the sea but a couple of year's ago it was stuck together a bit and made safe and a wooden bridge built so you can pretend you are crossing the moat that isn't there on a drawbridge . . . and a two-person balcony where you can stand with a friend and look out at the sea and hope the cliff won't crumble until you've gone home.

And that's where I went to look at plants.

Now, if I owned a castle, I wouldn't want flowers growing out from the stones. Heavens! The fuss people make about a little ivy on a grotty garden wall. And this is history!

How about Red Valerian growing on your roof?

Or leaves peeping over the lintel? (Sometimes I think this is buddleia - then I don't.)

This fleshy little plant may appear to be growing at the foot of a wall but no. It's nestling in the unevenness between the large stones from which the castle is built.

If the walls of my house were rickety with age, so rickety the upper floor had already given way, I wouldn't put sacks of earth along them and try to grow grass there.

But that's what happened when the castle was 'done up'. The grass died.

Other plants have taken their place.

It's getting late in the summer so they're dying too. Turning without moving (in a stuck foot kind of way) I look back under the arch of the balcony to see them.

There's a hole up the middle of the castle; a square, empty space. You can look down into the remains of the basement and up at the sky through the non-existent roof. And you can admire flowers growing in high, broken corners and window spaces.

(I unstuck my foot so see these.)

Plantain. Clover. And a bramble.

(Note to myself. Go back to the foot of the cliff before winter storms crack more of it away - and look up.)

(And down into rock pools.)

(We've been there before. We found a dead goose lying on a bed of seaweed. And I've been observing the castle as the seasons have come and gone.)

For more about 'Stuck Foot' posts - and an invitation to join in.
For the September Tree Following Link Box


amanda peters said...

Great observation , many people will have looked at these walls and never noticed the flowers.
Have thought I might do walls for my Urban post comming up in September as I have done my other idea ' Ginnels' in my latest post...
Amanda xx

Anonymous said...

A most enjoyable, and interesting post.
You certainly have an eye for more unusual plant habitats. Flighty xx

Gardens at Waters East said...

Lucy, I so enjoyed your commentary on the castle today. You are me smile as I read it. Thanks. Jack

Hollis said...

Go plants! I love it when they start to reclaim the territory we took over for awhile. also, this reminds me to keep an eye out for subjects for the upcoming Street Plants gathering.

Anonymous said...

Down here in Devon Red Valerian grows all over the place, especially in walls.

Urban Girl said...

wonderful to see how resilient plants are!

- Kif

Pat Tillett said...

I never used to notice bits of green and color sprouting out of cracks and little spaces. Thanks to you, now I do! We have a lot of pavers instead of concrete for our driveway and walkway. Whenever a little something pops out from between two of the stones, I always think of you.

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

Strange, the attempt at a green roof, feels more appropriate to a crofter's cottage than a rather dilapidated castle, how ever small. But I do love the way that plants colonise every available crack and crevice.

Stewart M said...

The ability of plants to find the smallest scrap of possibility is remarkable.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Down by the sea said...

It's a favourite castle of ours too, it is nice to see from a different angle!
Sarah x

PlantPostings said...

Amazing how plants can grow out of the toughest places! Looks like a fascinating place to visit.