Spring is being celebrated in the garden of Kingston Lacy with the launch of a new poetry trail through the spring bulb displays.
The trail features some well-known and loved verse, as well as some less well-known, but all on the theme of spring.
“Kingston Lacy is at its best in the spring, starting with the spectacular snowdrop displays in February right through to the daffodils and now the bluebells which are just starting to come out. We also have cherry blossoms and displays of rhododendrons and camellias. Since, for centuries, we know that people have been inspired by spring to take up a pen and write, we thought we would bring the two together and maybe inspire another Wordsworth, Hardy or Bronte to create their own tribute to spring,” said Rob Greenhalgh, Visitor Experience Officer at Kingston Lacy.
Local connections are not overlooked with the trail starting with a poem called The Four Seasons penned by Viola Bankes aged 12. An extract from Thomas Hardy’s Weathers in which he describes the sound of bird song in spring can be found in the Victorian Fernery.
In the Japanese garden are two Haikus by Kobayashi Issa, and, arguably the best loved of all spring poems, William Wordsworth’s daffodil poem is also included in the Lime Avenue. The former poet laureate remembers one of the nation’s favourite spring flowers in his poem, published in its final version 200 years ago in 1815.
One of Wordsworth’s contemporaries, the controversial Lord Byron, was a great friend of William John Bankes at Kingston Lacy and was described by Byron as his greatest critic. An extract from his poem She Walks in Beauty is included among the camellias on the Winter Walk.
“Once we started to look into it in detail, we were surprised at the variety and beauty of the poems which celebrate spring and how many had a link to Dorset. We know people enjoy exploring the gardens all year round but spring is an especially beautiful time at Kingston Lacy and we hope that people discovering the poetry around the garden might be inspired to sit a little longer and perhaps write something of their own.”
To help inspire visitors to pen their own verses the National Trust are working with Poole Poetry Group to run a series of poetry workshops. These workshops are running on Sundays until 17 May, from 11am – 1pm and 2-4pm, incorporating a one hour structured session followed by an hour of help and advice for visitors to write their own poems. Workshops are free and open to all on the day. More details are on the Kingston Lacy website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingstonlacy