Need some fresh ideas for your garden this summer? Here’s a taster of some of Yorkshire’s many gardens, thriving at this time of year and each offering a unique and memorable experience for visitors.
A stunningly beautiful contemporary garden, quite unlike any other. Designed by the renowned Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf and featuring modern, perennial meadow planting alongside more traditional areas, the garden is open to the public from Easter to October every year. 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 to it and complements the adjacent 18th century ‘Capability Brown’ park. There’s plenty to keep the little ones learning about the natural world and the tiny creatures that live in it. Search for Scamp the Mole hiding around the garden and his fairy friends who help him look after all the other critters in the trees.
Set in the Vale of York, Beningbrough Hall is the perfect location for works from the National Portrait Gallery. Outdoors, see what’s in season in the working Victorian walled garden and stroll among luxurious Edwardian borders. The parkland is perfect for longer walks, with plenty of space and a play area for children to let off steam. The series of interlocking gardens each offer their own distinct seasonal interest – from wildlife havens to colourful herbaceous borders – and are inspirational all year. In the gardens, there’s a fantastic wilderness play area where children can practice den making and discover all sorts of adventure. There’s nothing quite like playing outdoors.
Sheffield Botanical Gardens are now established as the outdoor cultural venue for Sheffield. The Theatre, Art and Music in the Gardens events attract a further 30,000 visitors each year and a central feature of the Gardens are the sweeping lawns with mature trees which create a setting for the restored linear glass Pavilions. The grand central Broadwalk leading up to the glass Pavilions is framed by colourful herbaceous borders and the splendid Gatehouse entrance arch and Tearooms are complemented by formal Victorian bedding displays.
Why not let your children explore the Bear Pit and the Marnock Gardens, and look out for the fossilised stump of a 300-million-year-old tree!
Sledmere House, Driffield
The garden at Sledmere is gaining increasing prominence for its dynamic and innovative development programme. The garden has become a place to explore and discover different planting areas that have an emphasis on form, colour and overall impact on the eye. The expansive range of plants used and different naturalistic gardening techniques employed help attract many different birds, butterflies and bees so wildlife enthusiasts, as well as plant lovers should feel at home. Each area created has a different feel from the last and each element begs to be explored, drawing you through the garden and losing sense of time in the process.
Sledmere is very children friendly with acres of gardens and grounds to run free.
Studley Royal Water Garden was a breath-taking vision of John Aislabie and his son William, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, looked after by the National Trust. A stunning 18th century water garden with ornamental lakes, mirror-like ponds, statues and follies, built around the romantic ruins of the 12th century Fountains Abbey. This garden has it all; green lawns stretch down to the riverside providing picture-perfect picnic spots, the riverside paths lead to the deer park, home to Red, Fallow and Sika deer, all surrounded by ancient trees.
Take a look at the beautiful garden at Burton Agnes Hall. A great day out for garden lovers, The Old Walled Garden was redeveloped in 1989-1990 and now contains a large collection of plants. There is a potager with vegetables, flowers for cutting and herbs, herbaceous borders, a maze, fruit beds, a jungle garden with large leaved plants, grasses and bamboos planted in gravel, a campanula garden containing a national collection of campanulas, a giant knot garden with colour themes divided by trellis instead of hedges and each containing a paved area forming a giant game board. Surrounding the house are lawns with topiary yew, ponds with fountains and a recently constructed pebble mosaic.
The gardens at Brodsworth Hall have been restored and are a copy of the 1860s design. Beyond the terrace and croquet lawns – bordered by clipped, evergreen shrubberies and marble statues – is the flower garden, with its fine display of authentic period bedding plants. The Rose Dell looks great in June. From the newly restored summerhouse, views are afforded into the romantic quarry garden, with its paths, bridges, and vistas. Of special interest is the rock garden and fern dell, planted with many rare ferns.
The unique garden of York Gate was created by the Spencer family and was undoubtedly inspired by some of the outstanding gardens of the time. The late Robin Spencer created in just one acre, a garden which by the early eighties, was regarded by many as one of the best small gardens in the world. York Gate is made up of several distinct garden 'rooms'. What makes this garden exceptional is the exquisite detail to be found within each: the pavement maze in the driveway, the espaliered cedar in the pinetum, the meticulous arrangement of stone setts and gravel along the path in the canal garden. From the formality of the Herb Garden with its topiary, to the Dell with its half-hidden pathways and stream, every area has a charm of its own.
Today the gardens at Newby Hall have been totally restored and replanted over a ten-year period by Mr and Mrs Robin Compton. The gardens were influenced by Lawrence Johnston's Hidcote Manor. Major Compton decided to create a main axis for the garden running from the south front of the house right down to the River Ure. The axis consisted of double herbaceous borders flanked by double yew hedges with a broad grass walk running down the middle. Off it he planned compartmented gardens of formal design like rooms off the main passage of a house. Newby’s exciting Adventure Garden has been thoughtfully and safely designed for children of all ages – from swings for toddlers through to climbing frames and bridges, an aerial slide and pedalo boats for the older children.
Explore the delights of RHS Garden Harlow Carr, a garden with a wide variety of growing landscapes ranging from woodland to wildflower meadows. Set in a valley and very much a part of the Yorkshire countryside, the garden has a wide variety of growing landscapes, from running and still water to woodland and wildflower meadows.
Acidic soil affords a fabulous environment for rhododendrons and Himalayan blue poppies, while visitors can be inspired if they have to contend with similar weather conditions - cold, drying winter winds, deep frosts, a cooler, shorter growing season and lots of wet weather. Sitting majestically at the top of the valley, affording a stunning view of the Woodland, the 24m (80ft) glass Alpine House provides a valuable setting for different specimens.
Running the length of RHS Harlow Carr is one of the longest streamside gardens in the country, the jewel of the garden. Families can visit the brand-new hedgehog-friendly garden, that has been built at Harlow Carr in partnership with Hedgehog Street and features a 'hedgehog highway'.