Leaving York on the 4th of June, we were excited to be on our way to the beautiful Lakes District, with a stop at Harlow Carr Gardens. Our hire car from Hertz was a very comfortable Mercedes. Susanne did most of the driving while I navigated. When making the booking, back in Australia in March, I had requested a navigation system with the car, but for some inexplicable reason, none was available from the York depot. Google served the purpose, as we only needed to take a small diversion from the main route, from York to Ambleside, in order to visit one of my favourite gardens in the world.
Harlow Carr Gardens is one of the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens in the UK, situated near Harrogate in Yorkshire. This was my third visit and, as on each occasion, a breath taking delight. Having my sister, Susanne, an equally keen gardener, with me, made it even more enjoyable as we dashed from one spectacular panorama to the next, with about a thousand stops on the way to capture a vista or the details of a single flower on camera.
On my previous visit much of the lower section of the garden was ankle deep in water and the only working toilets were those inside the cafe, so this time I was delighted to find that the weather was perfect, a bit chilly, but with clear skies and just the right light for taking photos.
Entrance is next to the tearooms. Betty’s Tearooms are well known in the area and we made a note to partake of their goodies later.
This was one of the gardens we could see without paying as it’s included in RHS membership which we had organised from Perth in order to visit the Chelsea Flower Show. I’m sure the volunteer behind the counter must see loads of enthusiastic gardeners each day, but our smiles were enough to gladden her heart too as she welcomed us and loaded us up with pamphlets.
Once outside in the garden, these are some of the hundreds of photos we took.
Susanne loves getting in close, taking photos of the finer details in flowers, so I couldn’t resist this shot of her at work.
Here are some of those detailed images of hers.
If you’ve followed us this far you are probably also a keen gardener and can appreciate the joy we felt in walking around this stunning place. Unfortunately I don’t know the names of many of the plants, largely because we can’t grow them in Western Australia. From small bell shaped flowers, to the weird trumpet varieties and sculptural cones on conifers, we often captured similar images so I’m lucky to have Susanne’s photos as well as mine to select from.
We had reached the back end of the garden when a misty rain started to fall, providing me with this final image.
The cafe and tearooms were crowded by the time we made our way back across the garden but the short wait for a table by the window was worth it and my seafood salad was delicious. Betty is famous for her scones with jam and cream so we were compelled to share one serve between us, with of course a nice cup of tea (peppermint for me and English Breakfast for Susanne.) Thus fortified we couldn’t leave without a visit to the shop. I love to bring back small and useful souvenirs, so my tea towels and cups are often happy reminders of garden tours. This time I found a table cloth, decorated with English meadow flowers, perfect for summer lunch parties.