Well, June is flaming, isn't it? Blimey Charlie it's been hot, and despite the sun lotion I'm looking like a Neopolitan ice cream - white, pink and brown. I've been slapping on the after-sun in an attempt to avoid painful sunburn, and thankfully so far it's working.
I've been pottering about in the garden lately, but haven't blogged. Not real reason why, just that when I get the chance to be a lazy baggage I generally take it. I think on the evolutionary scale I'm nudging up next to the sloths.
Anyway, Saturday saw another outing to a public garden. This time it was at Pocklington, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Amidst glorious countryside is Burnby Hall Gardens & Museum. (The museum I won't bore you with. It's fine if you're okay looking at stuffed animal heads from when one Major Percy Stewart, an 'adventurer and traveller', toured the world shooting its wildlife. I'm not.)
The Gardens are home to a National Collection of over 100 varieties of water lily, plus there're a number of sculptures to see, lakes teeming with coy carp and a Stumpery. Let's get the practicalities out of the way first: it's pushchair and wheelchair friendly, there's a good cafe and clean, well maintained loos. It's £5.00 for standard adult entry, but cheaper for seniors, children and there's a family rate. It's no to dogs, except obviously assistance dogs. If you're taking little 'uns you need to keep an eye on them as the lakes are deep and the fish mean it's tempting for children to get right to the water's edge. Speaking of fish ...
You can buy cups of fish food for a quid from the cafe, and it's worth it as feeding them is massively entertaining. The fish - carp and roach apparently - are ever eager for food, and smart enough to know that people approaching the water's edge may have some. They cluster around, jostling for a morsel, mouths gaping over.
The fish glide among the reeds, flag iris and lily pads.
The different varieties of lilies are well labeled, but you can't get among them to have a close enough look. It'd be good if there were some mini-piers. Modestly sized viewing platforms you could walk along to almost get encircled by them. But that's a minor gripe. (Perhaps I should just invest in a pair of binoculars next time Lidl/Aldi have them in one of their Aisles of Wonder.)
There are various sculptures dotted around the Gardens. Including this big cat, with apologies to the artist whose name I didn't note down.
Here's a gathering of giraffes at the water's edge. Again, sorry I didn't note the artist.
The Stumpery was cool and shady on a blisteringly hot day. There were plenty of wood carvings here, mainly variations on the folklore figure of the Green Man. I think Stumpery's were a bit of a Victorian thing, and they're probably really good for insects, bees and birds. All that rotting wood and nooks and crannies for little creatures to nest or hide in.
I bet a Stumpery on a gloomy, overcast day would be enough to make a decorous Victorian lady feel decidedly agitated. As dusk fell it could get rather spooky, don't you think?
Back out in the open again.
Down by the water's a good spot to eat your picnic lunch.
Yup, all in all I'd recommend Burnby Hall Gardens for a visit. The Rock Garden's being re-planted, so it's going to look rather barren until the autumn, but there's still plenty to occupy you. Plus plants for sale and the usual knick knacks, sweets and fudge in the gift shop. More info's at www.burnbyhallgardens. com
Hope you're not too hot & frazzled by the weather, and happy gardening!
The Himalayan Gardens & Sculpture Park near Ripon that is. As their website says this 'highly acclaimed garden is just 8 miles from Ripon and Masham, and is best known for its flamboyant burst of colour, with rare rhododendrons, azaleas and Himalayan plants stealing the show. They are nestled among mass plantings of glorious hybrids and drifts of spring bulbs.'
It's essentially a private garden of about 20 acres - yikes! Imagine having a garden that huge - and is open on a limited basis to the public. Essentials first: there's plenty of parking, well behaved dogs on leads are allowed, there's a very good cafe (mmmm, cakes ....), a children's play area and clean loos. Unfortunately as the site's got lots of steep slopes and winding downhill paths it's not wheel chair accessible, and if you were accompanying someone partially sighted they'd have to take great care on potentially slippy paths. There were plenty of older ladies & gents enjoying the site that we saw, so if you're steady on your pins it's fine for the 'more mature' clientele. Don't do what I did and wear your pretty summer sandals though. They were at least flat, but not the most practical choice. Trainers are ideal, as would be walking boots or sturdy shoes. It's comfort over style all the way. Take a picnic, plenty of sunscreen and an extra layer as it can get breezy.
As for the gardens ...
Pretty as a picture.
This serene being was appropriately placed in the Buddha Garden, the site being divided into different zones or rooms. In the same space was this joyful hare.
Isn't it beautiful? Graceful but with a sense of humour about it too.
This sculpture is called 'Fisherman's Head' (naturally). Did you spot the other sculpture beyond it? The tall metal fountain that drew your eye toward the water gushing from it and surrounding it.
I'm not even sure what kind of plant this is, but there's something primitive about it. As if it's an ancient plant with a tale to tell. Look at its top with those curls.
I'll post the rest of the photos tomorrow. I'd definitely recommend a trip, despite it being slightly off the beaten track, and it'd be good to see the gardens at different times of the year. A great garden for the enthusiastic horticulturalist but also anyone who loves to sculpt, draw or paint. Oh, and bird watchers need to take their binoculars as our feathered friends were paying their own visit too.
Head over to https://www.himalayangarden.com for more details.
I'm betting you've never heard of a place called Warthill. Neither had I before I was driven there yesterday. I'd never heard of a place called Breezy Knees Gardens either. It's advertised as 'The Flower Garden of Yorkshire' and is set in 20 acres not far from the city of York. There're deep, abundant herbaceous flower borders ablaze with colour, a rose garden, a conifer garden and a rock garden, a decorative fountain, a cafe and horticultural nursery, and lots more (including a sculpture of a pair of huge wellington boots and a version of Stonehenge made of greenery rather than stones.) If you're interested in expanding your knowledge of plants or simply love looking at one splendid flower or shrub after another you're going to love Breezy Knees. It was a gorgeously sunny day, and we strolled around to the sound of birdsong and saw dozens and dozens of fat bumble bees greedily feasting on the stunning flowers.
It's a great place for working out what you like and what you don't in terms of colours, shapes and textures, especially if - like me - you're a total novice when it comes to planning a successful flower border and creating something harmonious to the eye.
I know some fashionable types think alliums are yesterday's news, but I still admire their graceful stems and that mauve 'pom-pom' on top.
Every time I saw these I had to stroke them, like velvety bunnies ear. Must have some for my garden as they're so wonderfully tactile.
Pretty things everywhere you looked.
There were masses of poppies. White, pale pink, and of course the classic red.
Lots of beautiful, stately lupins too.
I took more photos so will pop them on the blog soon. I'd definitely recommend a trip to Breezy Knees. If you or a friend/relative have limited mobility the majority of the site's wheelchair accessible which is great. It's £6.50 for adults, £2.00 for children, and there's a small but good cafe and (clean and nicely maintained) loos. You can wander over to their website www.breezyknees.co.uk for more info. I can imagine most teenagers would be bored witless by it , but it's a grand day out for the rest of us.
The only slight drawback was the not-too-brilliant labeling of plants in the borders. It could be frustrating if you wanted to make notes for future ref. So you probably want to take lots of photos and get your plant A to Z book out at home in the evening in order to play amateur sleuth and identify them. Either that or end your visit with a wander around their horticultural nursery where all the plants were clearly labeled and make your notes then. If you have a few quid to spend you can go home with an array of plants too, just to make your day complete.
Moved from a garden-less city flat in the South West to a Yorkshire village in 2016. I now have a garden ... of sorts.