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.
Botanical tree gardens seem to thrive in North Yorkshire where we have the Kew Arboretum at Castle Howard and a replanted arboretum at Burton Constable. However one of the best Arboreta in Europe is Thorp Perrow, just a few miles from Bedale and the A1. Thorp Perrow for me is better than Westonbirt in Gloucestershire for variety, layout and the availability of information. I bought a catalogue for less than £4 listing and positioning 2400 different tree species together with maps and location within the arboretum, common names and origin of many of the other 15,000 trees.
Trees from the 16th and 17th Centuries include the impressively named ‘Catherine Parr Oak’ whilst a young oak was planted for George V’s Jubilee. There is an old saying about oaks living for 900 years, ’300 years a growing, 300 years a staying and 300 years a dying.’ The Pinetum was planted around 1850′s during the ownership of Lady Augusta Milbank. Most of the more recent development took place during the life of the then owner Colonel Sir Leonard Roper 1895-1977.
In keeping with the traditions of a botanic garden there are several National Plant Collections (NCCPG) including Ash, Lime, Walnut, Laburnum and Cotinus . The range of hydrangeas exceeds 60 varieties and is worth a visit on their own.
There is a Bark Park that I missed and must go back to see, Holly Glades, Autumn bays and Acer glades that look brilliant in the late summer sunshine.
Return to See Bark Park
I first visited in 2009 and have revisited in 2012. Not surprisingly the lay our and content is virtually the same. Most trees are three year older but when you are already a champion tree that will not say much.
The Bark park area is developing nicely and there are some great barks to see on trees in other areas. Next time I will come in winter when the bark will really stand out.
I will also be able to see more lables and relate them to the comprehensive catalogue.
Added Features at Thorp Perrow
There is a large range of activities throughout the year many based on the Falconry where birds are flown 3 times a day. There are mammals to amuse the children including Meercats and Wallabies (those well known Yorkshire inhabitants) and wooden red Squirrels.
The tearoom at the entrance/exit provides good bacon butties and I trust there is no connection to the near by pet Cemetery with stones commemorating long dead pets from 1800.
Lakes, Islands, bog gardens, wood sculptures and a small flower garden all seem to move with the times and new plantings and features are added each year. In 2012 the small nursery looks like it might fold. It certainly needs reinventing.
For details of entry visit Thorpperrow.com. If you are a member of the RHS entrance is free during September and at certain other times of the year.
You would expect the Royal Horticultural Society to grow decent flowers. Last summer they produced a large bed near the Gardens Through Time pictured above and below.
This year they are being more ambitious with a large part of the planting in front of the new library and learning centre sown with wild seeds. Already, within a couple of weeks of sowing there are numerous seedlings – I put it down to the damp weather we have been ‘enjoying’ recently. I recommend a visit in early August to see the display.
If you want a wild garden area of your own read Gardeners Tips for some ideas. For more technical information there is this book by Howard Beck
Below is another view of the Wild area at Harlow Carr last summer.
Another great Yorkshire location on a bigger scale was the meadow owned by Paul Sykes between Ripon and Studley Royal. This was more natural even though contrived to look the part.
I hope that it is going to excel again this year, you can see for yourself if you take the picturesque walk along the stream from Ripon to Studley A walk from Ripon Market Square to Studley Deer Park and Lake. This is an easy to moderate walk through woodland, open fields and park land – 8½ km or 7½ km (approximately 3½ hours). See map and details Studley Walk
The 2010 ‘Tulip festival’ may be finished but Constable Burton still has a lot to commend itself.
The house by John Carr, sadly not open to the public, is set in beautiful countryside at the entrance to Wensleydale. Fine trees and woodland walks combine with an interesting collection of alpines and extensive shrubs and roses. Explore the stream garden with its large architectural plants and reflection ponds or take a walk in the adjoining Parkland.
A wide range of Tulips in all shapes and sizes were on show in May.
See other Tulips on Gardeners Tips
Constable Burton gardens and Parkland are not to be confused with Burton Constable Gardens Skirlaugh,
East Yorkshire HU11 4LN
The UK’s biggest ever plant hunt is underway with a survey that will cover tens of thousands of plants at more than eighty significant National Trust Gardens. The project is sponsored by Yorkshire Bank, sponsors of the Outdoor Programme which also includes help to conserve and protect National Trust gardens through investment in greener gardening initiatives.
Using the latest technology including GPS positioning to record plant locations over 1,000,000 plants are being recorded to give an overview of the largest collection of cultivated plants in the UK. Many of these plants tell the history of a garden’s creation, people’s passions and changing fashions through the centuries.
During the three year sponsorship deal Yorkshire Bank is also supporting the Greener Gardens initiative to improve the way both the Trust and its supporters can maintain gardens in more environmentally sustainable ways. This includes composting on an industrial scale, rainwater harvesting and reviving old wells, to experimenting with drought-resistant varieties of plants and introducing solar-powered lawnmowers.
It is good to see a bank putting something into more than just executive bonuses.
Locations from the National Trust Yorkshire section that you might like to visit include
Beningbrough Hall & Gardens
This imposing Georgian mansion contains one of England’s best baroque interiors. Over 100 pictures are on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. Outside there is a delightful walled garden and a fantastic adventure playground.