Yesterday my friend and I decided to walk round Harlow Carr gardens rather than going up another of the Dales 30, the weather didn’t look too good and I’d had a heavy day at work on Monday. I was lucky enough to be given RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) membership for my birthday so we could both go in for free and even had a voucher to spend in the cafe!
We had a wonderful time, I realised I’d only ever seen a small part of it with my mum in the past, we’d never walked up into the wooded areas. The trees were beautiful. We were fascinated by the huge variety of ‘fir’ trees, we do tend to clump them all together but in an arboretum you can really appreciate the different characteristics such as the way the branches hang or the shape and feel of the ‘needles’ as well as the size and colour.
Up in the wooded area there were a couple of summerhouses, one had gorgeous stained glass decoration. There was a different flower pictured in each triangle, about eight or ten in total…
I thought the autumn colour might be coming to an end but there were some stunning trees, one that kept catching our eye in various places round the gardens was Liquidamber, we’d never even heard of it before, but if I can find a smallish one I’m very tempted to put one at the top of our garden, imagine looking out of the window to this every autumn…
After walking through the woods we were ready for lunch, at Harlow Carr there’s a Betty’s restaurant at the top, but there’s also a Betty’s takeaway cafe at the bottom of the hill, as it had turned into a lovely mild autumn day we sat outside and had some delicious mushroom soup…and a fat rascal!
After lunch we explored the rest of the garden, there’s a stream and lake, some gorgeous herbaceous beds, alpine houses, demonstration gardens. Considering we are nearly in November there’s still lots of colour from flowers and foliage.
It was pretty busy as it’s half term holidays for the local schools, it was nice too see so many children enjoying themselves in the garden and it was big enough to still feel peaceful.
We’re hoping to visit once a month, see how the garden changes over the year…and get some ideas for our own gardens. We were very good in the garden centre too, we were very tempted but we resisted, I am going to add some rusted metal dome shaped plant supports to my Christmas list though, they looked great and I think they would work really well with floppy peonies.
There’s a new RHS garden opened in Salford, near Manchester, so we might be having a trip over there sometime too!