I was very pleased recently to receive the ‘gift’ of ‘the Calderstones monkey’, which you can see here. This was caught by Ronnie, a reluctant monkey hunter, he refuses to ‘join in’ and be called an agent, but he has contributed a number of monkeys to the catalogues, and is often my driver on monkey hunting expeditions. So L69 – as the Calderstones monkey is now known – is hidden amongst a grouping of trees opposite the lush herbaceous border in Calderstones Park. Finding myself in south Liverpool with a pause in a very busy work week, I decided to go and see it for myself. And yes, it is difficult to spot, especially this time of year with all the trees in full leaf. But I do see it… although rather cramped in this gathering of trees. And peering into the group of trees, in the distance I see another familiar silhouette of the unmistakeable drooping branches of a monkey….
I go round to the other side to get a proper look.
It’s another monkey…. How come I have never seen this before? I must have walked past it zillions of times. So here is L70.
This tree is in the same group of trees that L69 is planted and I couldn’t help wondering why they’re planted like this all bunched up. After all this was the wealthy home of the McIver family, owners of the Cunard Line.
The mansion house is now home the The Reader Organisation. And this is the view from the front door of the house:
Yes, a lovely front lawn which would have been ideal for a specimen monkey puzzle. Imagine this view now with a lovely mature monkey. Anyway, this is a very manicured garden – they even have a mock ‘ha-ha’ just visible on this picture as a dark line running across the lawn. I call it ‘mock’ because it’s fairly shallow, and also only runs a short way across the lawn, so I’m assuming it’s a ‘feature’ rather than a practical element. A ha-ha had a practical use to prevent grazing livestock from the landscape beyond entering the ‘garden area’. A ha-ha – a recessed landscape barrier – is used as it creates a barrier while preserving views. Sheep were often used to graze on large areas of grass to keep the grassland trimmed, but obviously you wouldn’t want sheep droppings in the bit where you’re going to be walking in your long frock would you? Wikipedia tells me: the name “ha-ha” derives from the unexpected (i.e., amusing) moment of discovery when, on approach, the recessed wall suddenly becomes visible. I always just thought of it as the folly of the rich. So, I have a look round while I’m here, and go and have a look at the walled garden.
I wonder how long this sort of maintenance heavy gardening will survive with local authority cuts?
This lushness of high summer is staggeringly lovely, and even more so knowing that it will soon be ‘going over’… for now, I’m just enjoying it.
In another part of this garden are more benches, and I see they’ve replaced the water feature now with a stone one. The previous silver ball water feature, which was very nice, lasted only a few weeks after the renovation of this part of the garden – sadly this area replaced the ageing glasshouses. And one of these benches is a very special bench.