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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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FEAST OF FLOWERS: The rhododendrons in bloom at Muncaster Castle

THE beauty of spring is being celebrated at Muncaster Castle with a dazzling duo of horticultural events.

From tomorrow to Monday, the Castle, which is located near Ravenglass, will be transformed into a floral paradise for the Feast of Flowers festival.

Visitors will be able to enjoy scenic walks through some of England’s most dramatic landscapes, watch foodie demonstrations as well as enjoying wonderful fresh flowers decorating the inside of the castle too.

All corners of the castle will be decked out with special royal jubilee-themed floral displays courtesy of the highly skilled members of Millom Flower Club.

The patriarch of the castle, Patrick Gordon Duff-Pennington will invite guests to join him on a free guided tour of the gardens each day at 1pm.

With the 70-acre gardens at their peak at this time of year, there are spectacular sights to behold, including vivid rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas. There are plants from all over the world here including Tibet, China and India and many grow to extraordinary heights in the fertile castle grounds.

Tomorrow the Pennington Hotel’s chefs will present a Cooking with Flowers demonstration. They’ll be devising an imaginative menu complete with edible flowers such as nasturtiums, calendula and dandelions.

Jane Maggs from the award-winning Wild & Fruitful will host a series of jam-making sessions on Sunday. She’ll be showing visitors how to combine the best local produce to make delicious fruity and floral jams. On Monday, there will be Cooking with Flowers demonstrations with local celebrity chef, John Crouch.

Peter Frost-Pennington, who also lives at Muncaster Castle, says: “There’s nothing like the incredible colours of our spring flowers to shake off the winter blues.

“The gardens at Muncaster are at their most stunning in the forthcoming weeks and we’ve got some great activities and events to celebrate the magical scents and sights of spring.”

Visitors can still enjoy Bluebell Heaven – a vision of blue that is designed to lift the spirits after the long winter. This year’s mild spring has meant the bluebells have flowered slightly earlier than usual but they are growing in abundance on the wooded hill above the Castle and should still be in flower.

The sea of native bluebells at Muncaster, stretching out through the ancient coppiced woodlands, is quite breathtaking when they are in full flower. A special path takes visitors through the spring wonderland.

Voted as one of ‘Spring’s Best Days Out’ by The Independent newspaper, Muncaster offers a host of events throughout the year for the whole family to enjoy.

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