An English Folly

Yesterday my family, several friends, and I went canoeing along the Miami Whitewater River. It was an overcast day; the river was low, so we avoided any mishaps in navigating the rapids. Along the banks we caught sight of a great blue heron, a pair of night herons, several gaggles of geese and goslings, and river turtles sunning themselves on overhanging branches.

Midway on our trip, we beached the canoes on the slope leading to a replica of a 10th century castle, a folly that a retired publisher, Harry Andrews, built entirely by hand. The materials were river stones and concrete (which he used as mortar and also poured into milk cartons in order to fashion bricks). The castle itself is eccentric in an English manner; the terraced gardens, however, are Italianate in design, but with an abundance of flowers beloved in English gardens: alium, red hot pokers, and roses of all sorts.

Harry Andrews’s intention was to build a playground for the boys he taught in Sunday school; today adult members of The Knights of the Golden Trail volunteer their time to keep the castle and grounds in repair. Crenellated battlements, romantic towers; narrow passageways; vitrines displaying crossbows and daggers; medieval suits of armor and velvet blue robes; blurred photographs of ghosts––children and adults alike were enchanted.

To read about Harry Andrews and to see pictures of the Historic Loveland Castle, visit http://www.lovelandcastle.com/his.html. To read a short history of English gardens,  go to http://www.britainexpress.com/History/english-gardens.htm.

Maureen

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