Several outings a year and local garden visits were initiated in 1976. These continue today in the form of a day trip by coach, three times during the spring and summer months.
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RHS Garden Harlow Carr:
RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Yorkshire covers 27.5 hectares (68 acres). 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. The Streamside is the jewel of the garden and blending into the Woodland, the trees along Streamside give shelter and moderate the climate where you will find rodgersias, darmeras, hostas, ferns and giant Gunnera, luxuriating in the moist, still conditions. Large blocks of candelabra primulas, irises and astilbes are also used to stunning effect. To add interest along the route, there are a number of bridges and cascades, as well as a beautiful wooden summerhouse, which is a recent addition.
Another outstanding feature, particularly in the Spring is the Alpine House. Affording a stunning view of the Woodland, the 24m (80ft) glass Alpine House provides a valuable setting for the display of alpines with over 2,00 in Harlow Carr’s collection. To complement the existing features of the Alpine Zone, new features outside include a series of raised dry stone beds, large stone spheres, recycled limestone and tufa, and large crevice plantings. .
The home of former gardener & presenter Geoff Hamilton and home for the BBC Gardeners World programme for many years starting in 1985. It was known as the people’s garden due to the down to earth approach of Geoff and that spirit lives on today in the hands of Nick Hamilton and his team of gardeners. Geoff was a firm believer and pioneer in organic gardening and Barnsdale was his 'great experiment' in peat free and chemical free growing. These techniques have been continued and the gardens at Barnsdale remain an outstanding example of these organic principles. Barnsdale consists of 38 individual gardens in an 8-acre site, including Stream & Bog garden, Penstemon & Hosta beds, Wildlife garden, Japanese garden, Rose garden, Allotment, Cottage garden, Courtyard garden and obviously many more.
Upton House dates from 1695 and stands at 210 metres above sea level on Edgehill, the site of a famous battle and covers 37 acres in all. Below the house is a great lawn with the garden descending in a series of long terraces down to a large lake with bog garden. In the centre of the terraced area is a huge sloping kitchen garden flanked by herbaceous borders with a national collection of asters.
Thenford Gardens is the home of Michael & Anne Heseltine who bought the house in 1976 and added 400 acres of surrounding agricultural land. Over the next 25 years, 40 acres of woodland was restored with the advice of many leading horticulturists. The timber had previously been grown for commercial purposes but the range of trees and shrubs was considerably widened laying the foundations for the garden today. Around the turn of the century when MH left government, he started to create a serious of ornamental features.
Today the arboretum spreads over 70 acres and features a collection of over 3,500 trees and shrubs with extensive herbaceous borders, water gardens, an alpine trough garden, a sculpture garden, a rose garden and rill. The medieval fish ponds with interconnecting canal and the existing lake have been restored and 2 new ones added.