Off to the Himalayas!

Well not quite, but having missed RHS Chelsea and Tatton, now lockdown has been eased a little we are intent on seeing the occasional garden that isn’t our own. Not only is it deeply inspirational but there’s something rather lovely about not feeling that you have to stop and pull a weed out. So, having discovered the Himalayan Gardens near Ripon in Yorkshire some years ago, we decided to take a picnic and do some socially distancing mooching. I think it’s important that we remember that gardens like this rely on the revenue from visitors to ensure the upkeep, so just like any other business since lockdown, they need to see an increase in footfall. Luckily with 45 acres to wander around, there’s no reason to be too near anyone else at all .

One of the wonderful aspects of this particular garden for us is that they have a similarly acidic soil so most of the things that grow there are plants that we already grow or would probably do well in our setting, so it’s really easy to relate to. However, the stunning topography of the exceptional site is nothing like our garden, which is on the Cheshire Plain and flat as a pancake! Part valley and part ravine, the spectacular hillside planting of rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and cornus are underplanted with primulas and meconopsis, to mention just a few. At the bottom of the valley are three adjoining lakes with a pagoda at the far end of the largest. Throughout the park, contemporary sculptures include a huge floating magnolia and a contemplation circle. Although, right now the nursery is closed, there are still some plants for sale, most notably the two varieties of mecanopsis or Himalayan blue poppy. It was so lovely to be out and about again, wandering through such a beautiful setting and to add to the pleasure of the day, these delightful gardens are situated in Grewelthorpe, the most picturesque of Yorkshire villages with pretty stone cottages and lovely countryside. All in all, it was as they say in Yorkshire – A Grand Day out!

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