Yorkshire’s Royal Horticultural Garden

Harlow Carr Garden Harrogate, formerly the top trials garden and base of the Northern Horticultural Society was taken over by The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)  in 2001. It is now a top class garden and visitor attraction with many new features. This is a result of volunteers hard work and from the capital investment by RHS, the nations top gardening charity. If you think this picture is a bit fishy for a garden then you may be surprised at the other modern sculpture that is being progressively introduced into Harlow Carr.

The gardens once were part of the Forest of Knaresborough, an ancient royal hunting ground. In 1734 sulphur springs were discovered on the site and remain beneath the present Limestone Rock Garden. The Streamside Garden, Scented Garden and Gardens through Time are worth a visit but the latest attraction is the new Alpine House with an extensive range of small but interesting Alpine plants.

Harlow Carr is moving with the times and is building a large new ‘green construction’ learning centre to support the educational remit of the RHS. This will incorporate an enlarged library but free book loans are still available from the existing library for RHS members. If you want more dynamic gardeners tips to help you in your own garden click here on the web.
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Bookies Best Books a Squash Duo

Yorkshireman and former world No 1 Nick Matthew is featured in Sit Down and Cheer: A History of Sport on TV (Wisden Sports Writing) by Martin Kelner . Despite its fun approach to TV sport since the 1960’s it not causing the literary storm of the William Hill Sports book of the year shortlist. This is reserved for the self published book of his main sporting nemesis, James Willstrop.

Book Cover

Shot and a Ghost: A Year in the Brutal World of Professional Squash by James Willstrop (Rod Gilmour)

James Willstrop is also one of the world’s leading squash players with a history of acrimonious rivalry with fellow squash player and genuine Yorkshireman Nick Matthew.
James Willstrop is ‘one of the sport’s most complex and cerebral characters. Born in Norfolk but brought up in Pontefract, James is anything but the archetypal Yorkshireman – a poetry-loving vegan with a love of musicals, Oscar Wilde and Philip Larkin.’ He even writes a regular column for the Yorkshire Evening Post.
The book is largely his own work including a self publishing exercise. It is said to be ‘candidly honest about the issues that affect him, using flashbacks to earlier periods in his life. As critical of himself as of others, he talks openly about his close relationship with his father and coach, Malcolm; the devastating death of his mother, Lesley.’
James has been the world No 1 since January 2012 and has won over 80 caps for England whilst travelling the world.

Ghosting in Squash terms is not about the writing of a book. During training playing a shot without a ball is to Ghost. A bit like cricketers who miss and practice an ‘air shot’. Repetition is is an art form in squash enhancing skills by time spent ghosting.

Will ‘Shot and a Ghost’ be another win for Yorkshire Sport when the result is announced? Is Squash ready to be a mainline ‘Gold medal winning’ sport.

The Sports Book Of The Year 2012 shortlist in full

That Near-Death Thing – Inside the TT : The World’s Most Dangerous Race by Rick Broadbent (Orion)
Running with the Kenyans – Discovering The Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth by Adharanand Finn (Faber)
The Secret Race – Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle (Bantam Press)
Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan (Yellow Jersey)
Fibber in the Heat by Miles Jupp (Ebury Press)
A Life Without Limits – A World Champion’s Journey by Chrissie Wellington, with Michael Aylwin (Constable & Robinson)
Shot and a Ghost: A Year in the Brutal World of Professional Squash by James Willstrop (Rod Gilmour)


Nick Matthew

Nick has twice been World Champion.
Other success includes 3 times British open champion and 4 times British National Champion.
Gold Medals in the Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Aged 32 Nick was born in Sheffield.

Do Not Ask the Leodis Beer is 4.6% at Brewery Taps

153/365: Leodis

Leodis Lager, Leodis Dunkel and Leodis Wheat Beer may all taste different but the consistent quality is replicated in a consistent strength. 4.6% abv the percentage of Alcohol by Volume is the same for all 3 brews from the Brewery Tap.
Strangely this converts to 8.06% proof in UK measures or 9.2% proof in USA terms. For more on ‘Proof’ and alcohol in general read clever

The Brewery Tap, Leeds

Leeds larger lovers can drink locally produced Leodis, a continental style 4.6% lager produced using eastern European hops and genuine lager yeast, at the Brewery Taps on the approach road to the railway station. Ask the enthusiastic staff if you would like to try a taster and hear more about our exceptional set-up.

For more and better sustenance try a couple of pints of pleasure at the Scarbrough Taps just around the corner. A favorite haunt of Camra what ever the abv.
In 1826 Henry Scarbrough named his pub the Kings Arms. Then in 1890, Fred Wood established The Scarbrough Hotel where he organised talent nights. Any act showing promise was put on at his City Varieties so no karaoke from me just in case.
The pub is now owned by Nicholson’s who have a good chain of pubs with grub in London. The format there is the same with dining available in upstairs rooms above the long thin bars. Many of the Nicholson’s pubs have interesting histories.

Leeds flickr Meetup

Photo credits
153/365: Leodis by Michael of Scott CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ‘Leodis is a rich, flavoursome, caramel-tasting lager brewed by Leeds brewery in the micro brewery upstairs in their pub, the Brewery Tap in Leeds. Drinking the cold pint knowing that it had travelled only a few meters from brewery to glass and feeling proud to be in Leeds!’
The Brewery Tap, Leeds by Adam Bruderer CC BY 2.0
Leeds flickr Meetup by iwouldstay CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Botanic Arts in Yorkshire

The botanic arts are alive and well in Yorkshire. Not surprising when you consider the gardens we can explore from which to take our inspiration. There are many artistic forms your botanic art work can take and you can experiment to find your own personal satisfaction or take a local course.


Some History of Botanic Arts

The Arts and Crafts Movement enjoys current popularity and often used organic shapes and forms in the work. From this developed the beginning of an Art Nouveau style that can be recognized during the 1880s with many references to botanics. However botanic art goes further back:-

‘The Golden Age of Flowers: Botanical Illustration in the Age of Discovery 1600-1800′ by Celia Fisher is reviewed in some detail on Gardening Products

Hands on gardening can be an art and therapy and has been for centuries.  Some part of this story is told in ‘Gardening Women: Their Stories from 1600 to the Present’ by Catherine Horwood from Amazon.

‘At the age of seventy-two, Mary Delany, (1700-1788), embarked upon a series of nearly a thousand botanical collages, or ‘paper mosaics. Delicate hand-cut floral designs, made by a method of Mrs. Delany’s own invention, vie with the finest botanical works of her time. More than two centuries later her extraordinary work continues to inspire.’

Book Cover
Mrs. Delany and Her Circle (Yale Center for British Art) by Mark Laird and Alicia Weisberg-roberts

Courses Training and Learning

The Northern Society of Botanical Art was formed In January1993 by a group of people with a common interest in plants and flowers. They originally attended classes in Botanical Illustration at Sheffield University.

The Society of Botanic artistsrun many courses throughout the year including several in Yorkshire locations:

JACK BECK HOUSE – Yorkshire Dales Watercolour flower painting with Janet Whittle SBA.
HARLOW CARR – RHS gardens Harrogate Botanical and flower painting courses and workshops with tutors Susan Christopher-Coulson SBA, Colin Swinton and Victoria Street.
UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD A variety of Courses in Botanical Illustration. Contact Institute for Lifelong Learning.
Check your local paper and library for other courses or join a local art group.

Himalayan garden sculpture
Himalayan garden and sculpture park the Hutts nr Ripon.

Forms of Botanic Art

Drawing and painting spring to mind when you first consider botanic art. There are some vivid and detailed drawing of plants and flowers that educated and illuminated botany for years.
Then no local art show would be complete without a display of carefully replicated flowers in various mediums.
Sculpture is another form where botanic art can come into its own. Whilst the sculpture above is of birds there are floral tributes in the Himalayan sculpture park near Ripon.
Collages, textile design and decoupage are other forms of art relying on botanic subjects.


Growing your own flowers and plants is not classed as an art form but I would argue that garden design certainly should be. In the meantime you may wish to buy some raw material for your own art work from Thompson & Morgan

Painted eucalyptus

Photo Credits
flower by artfulblogger CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Painted by jenrock CC BY-NC 2.0
Painted eucalyptus by littlevanities CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Century Plant (for my Ma on her Birthday) by montethrasher CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Century Plant (for my Ma on her Birthday)

Otley Museum and Industrial Heritage

Navvies Memorial Otley

Otley museum is a Yorkshire treasure that charts the industry and life of folk in Otley though the exhibits and informative volunteers. There are currently good research facilities where you can access the principal Museum Archive or the Urban Development Archive and conduct family or historical research. Current exhibits include details of locally discovered Neolithic bodies 5,000 years old that are thought to have suffered from Spina Bifida type health problems through new Rag Rugs from local children to Victorian coat hangers from gents outfitters and photographs of old farming families.

Local industries provided many of the commercial exhibits with a lot of detail from the heart of the printing machinery industry and the birth of the Wharfedale Printing machine. Notwithstanding the industrial connection the heart of the collection is an accumulation of all things that have gone to make up the life of a great market town in the West Riding.

Currently the museum is open Monday, Tuesday and Friday 10.00-12.30 and staffed exclusively by volunteers. Visit the Museum soon as the Mechanics Institute or Civic Hall where it is located is due for refurbishment. All the exhibits will have to be put into storage and it not certain that the self-funding charity will be able to afford the rent due to the council when the premises are reopened. Local communities need connections to the past and the museum deserves to be given every chance to entertain and educate future generations. Otley also needs all the attractions it can muster to encourage day trippers and visitors to the market and the surrounding countryside.

One special collection is of ‘Concealed Shoes’ which are individuals shoes discovered in old buildings. Since the 13th century buildings have had shoes concealed in the fabric, in walls, chinneys, roofs or under floorboards. Probably placed there to ward of witches and evil spirits they were meant to bring good luck or avoid bad luck. if you find such a shoe it is worth reporting to the museum for deatiled record keeping but leave it in place in case evil spirits do exist.

Biblography on Concealed Shoes.
Otley Museum concealed Shoes found around Otley Research File by appointment.
Edwardd J C Swaysland Boot & Shoe Design & Manufacture 1905 Museaum copy
Swann, J.M. web story and , ‘Shoes Concealed in Buildings’, Northampton Museum Journal 6 (December 1969) pp.8-21.
Ralph Merrifield, ‘Folklore in London Archaeology’, The London Archaeologist (Winter 1969) vol.1, no.5.
Ralph Merrifield, The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic (London, Batsford, 1987).
Denise Dixon-Smith, ‘Concealed Shoes’, Archaeological Leather Group Newsletter no.6 (Spring 1990).
Olaf Goubitz, ‘Verborgen Schoeisel’ in Westerheem VIII no.5 (1989) pp.233-39.
Margaret Baker, The Realms of Gold (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1975; Penguin 1977) p.357.
J.L. Nevinson, Letter to The Times 5 February 1934, asking for reasons for concealments.
Col. Pen Lloyd, The History of the Mysterious Papillon Hall (Leicester 1977).

The Architecture of Otley is featured in the Otley Museum but there are many places for visitors to discover. The above photograph is a detail from the memorial to the Navvies who built and died during the construction of the Bramhope Railway Tunnel.

Yorkshire Museum York

Yorkshire museum

The site of the refurbished Yorkshire Museum in St Marys Gardens has no flat caps or much of the way in humour. No Yorkshireman will laugh at the entrance price unless there is a foreigner paying them.
York Museums Trust had to work hard to secure the £2million needed for this project named ‘Letting in the Light’ see charity donors below.
York gargoyle

Perhaps I was wrong about the humour. This monument on display could be called ‘Who is the Boss?’

Hambledon Pottery

There is a good display of artifacts from Roman times and some more recent finds. I was impressed with the Hambleton pottery. More info

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North Yorkshire Rotters

Helmsley 167

The search is on for rotters in the Harrogate area. The OED defines a rotter ‘one who is objectionable on moral or other grounds; a useless, or inefficient or disliked person’ but the local authority thinks they will be … ‘people who will help reduce waste and sustain the environment. Rotters are volunteers, drawn from all over North Yorkshire, who offer friendly advice and expertise to people in their local communities who would like to reduce their waste and save money.’

Tommy rot, nonsense, bosh, twaddle, nonsense, balderdash, claptrap, codswallop, guff, baloney, bunkum, hogwash, poppycock or to come back to North Yorkshire Rotters main purpose ‘ Rubbish’!