Yorkshire is blessed with a plethora of wonderful gardens, from stately homes to smaller more intimate ones that open at various times of the year through the National Garden Scheme, an admirable charity that encourages private owners or whole villages to welcome visitors into their homes and raise countless funds for various cancer charities. Please visit ngs.org.uk for more information. Many a happy weekend can be spent wandering around a wonderful garden and listening to the hosts account of how they planned and nurtured their garden into its current form and you drive away full of ideas on how to transform your garden into one of similar delight.
The Himalayan Garden, at Grewelthorpe, near Masham is growing into one of the most important gardens of azaleas and rhododendrons in Europe. Laid out on a steep hillside with stunning lakes in the valley below the garden is an abundance of colour from mid-spring until May and June. Sculptures by renowned artists dot the landscape and enhance the surroundings adding to the magnificence of this spectacular garden.
Designed by the much-admired Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf, the Walled Gardens at Scampston are a stunningly beautiful, contemporary garden, quite unlike any other. Set within the 18th century walls of the original kitchen garden for Scampston Hall, today the Walled Garden has an exciting and unashamedly modern feel and complements the adjacent 18th century 'Capability' Brown parkland.
The RHS’s most northerly garden at Harlow Carr in Harrogate has a wide range of growing landscapes from running and still water to woodland and wildflower meadows. They also have a wide range of interesting and informative courses and workshops to attend, and if you get peckish, they also have a Betty’s Tea Room.
The dramatic Fountains Abbey ruins form an amazing backdrop to the Georgian water gardens at Studley Royal. This world heritage site incorporates classical statues, follies and garden buildings carefully positioned within the landscape as well as a deer park. Amazingly the park has barely changed in the last 200 years, since its creation by John Aislabie, and later, his son William.
The Forbidden Corner is described as a garden unlike any other and it is a fantastic day out for all ages. It is a unique labyrinth of tunnels, follies, chambers and extraordinary statues within a four acre garden. It was originally built as a private folly but due to public demand was subsequently opened to the public and continues to grow and delight visitors of all ages.
Covering 100 acres, Thorp Perrow Arboretum boasts one of the largest collections of shrubs and trees in the North of England, including 5 National Collections, and 51 Champion Trees. A walk around the Arboretum can be a journey of plant discovery that takes you around the continents of the world; with many of the tree and shrub genera and species planted having origins in China, Japan, North America, Chile, and Europe. There is also a collection of birds of prey and exotic species including a Mammal Centre where you can get up close and personal with the furry occupants.
Originally the estate of Major Percy Marlborough Stewart, adventurer and collector, and his heiress wife Katharine, Burnby Hall Gardens were developed by them and left in trust to the people of Pocklington on the former’s death in 1962. The Gardens comprise Upper and Lower Lakes set in nine acres of woodland and gardens and are home to a National Collection of over a hundred varieties of Hardy Water Lily (Nymphaea) which bloom on them from mid-June to the end of August.
Built in 1759, Helmsley Walled Garden is a five acre garden sitting beneath the imposing ruins of Helmsley Castle. It provided the vegetables, fruit and flowers for Duncombe Park until just after World War 1 when it was leased as market garden. It was abandoned in 1984 and fell into dereliction. In 1994, a local lady Alison Ticehurst, decided to restore the garden to a beautiful place for all to enjoy, and specifically as a place for horticultural therapy for those in need. Since then the Garden has gone from strength to strength through the dedication and care of staff and volunteers.
The beautiful, award winning gardens of Burton Agnes Hall offer something for everyone, from the walled garden containing over four thousand different plant species, herbaceous borders, a jungle garden and national collection of campanulas, to the woodland walk with creepy crawlies to spot, as well as the maze and giant games for children and adults alike.
The 60 acres of gardens at Yorkshire Lavender near Terrington, York have a unique lavender maze, Mediterranean Dry Garden, Sensory Garden, a wildflower grassland meadow and probably Yorkshire’s largest snakes and ladders as well as much more. There is also a fabulous shop stocking a diverse range of lavender inspired goodies to enjoy!
Within Filey Bird Garden and Animal Park you can enjoy a variety of gardens including the Formal Bird Gardens, hidden Secret Garden, and the interactive and educational Sensory Garden. You can also meet their friendly animals and wide range of exotic birds, including waterfowl, parrots, owls, pheasants and rheas.
Don’t forget that Harrogate Centre boasts 200 acres of open grassland, flowerbeds and verges. In Spring and Summer it is an amazing sight starting with the millions of crocuses, which give way to daffodils and then cherry blossom trees – don’t miss it!