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.
Moved from a garden-less city flat in the South West to a Yorkshire village in 2016. I now have a garden ... of sorts.