In Poland you can stay in a castle – so we are! It’s got a pretty gritty WWII history just like every part of Poland (it was being prepared for Hitler to live in after he won, thankfully he didn’t). The Ksiaz (pronounced ‘Shoungsh’, not kidding) castle is 700 years old but as with all old buildings it’s had bits added here & there over the centuries.
Ksiaz Castle has a Palm House they call it a palmerium (albeit 2km away, the grounds are big) built in 1911, and 15m high. Princess Daisy, an English woman who wasn’t a princess but who’d married the owner of the castle, wanted year round flowers and fruit, so the palm house was built for her.
Inside the plants are on lava rock from Mt Etna, carted here 100 years ago (why not I guess if you own a castle!).
The part I most enjoyed was the bonsai room. Some were over a hundred years old. This room had a security guard.
The walk ended at the plant shop, not fancy but selling those super cute baby cacti. The kids touring the palmerium lapped them up! They were very excited to take home a living plant souvenir that looked like a piece of jewellery.
The shop also sold Norfolk Island pines, of which there are two larger ones inside the glasshouse almost popping a hole in the roof. Not sure where an average visitor will plant them but inside springs to mind.
There was also a NZ plant, of which I haven’t really seen since Cornwall (apart from the karaka in Kyiv) – Cordyline australis, happy in its glasshouse. When I say happy they keep chopping the top off so it doesn’t smash the roof.
Sadly the palmerium (the main palm really is Phoenix canariensis, which I find VERY difficult to appreciate) is in desperate need of repairs. Poland is not a wealthy country and this is part of the National Park. The rust! The broken and glued panes of glass….I think the princess (who died in 1943) would be a bit sad to see it now. I paid 8 zloty to get in, that’s $NZ3.80.
I’ll profile the castles garden soon, haven’t explored it yet!
Ps In the castle I found this photo of the cooks wife (pre WWII, the cook was also an amateur photographer & recorded much of their lives in a photo exhibit in the castle) in the greenhouses – looks like Princess Daisy got the flowers she wanted.