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Harewood Gardens

A Gardeners View of Spring at Harewood

Springtime in the gardens at Harewood means colour. Lots and lots of colour! From the dazzling display of tulips in the borders, alongside masses of hyacinths on the Terrace, down through the West Garden and all the way around the lakeside woodlands.  Here, swathes of daffodils cover the thickly wooded slopes in between groups of stately rhododendrons.

But there is always more than meets the eye at Harewood. Linger in those verdant glades a while longer. Take the time to stroll. Pause and look beyond those perennial showstoppers. Look closer. Look up, even look behind you, and you might be rewarded with a glimpse of something special. Whether it’s the billowing clouds of pure white cherry blossom against the blue sky, or the eerily striped hood of a cobra lily rising from the woodland floor, or a colony of orchids growing on a mossy roof, the richness and diversity contained within these gardens is staggering.

And that’s just what’s in store for visitors now. Things are only starting to get interesting. Because for gardeners, springtime, of course, means more than colour. It means growth and renewal. It also means a lot of hard work. Harewood is very much a developing garden. We’re busy planting some amazing plants, many of which visitors will see flowering in the gardens this summer, while some will put on growth and then flower next spring, and there are others that may take some years to reach flowering size. The important thing for us is continuity – evolving the gardens through the constant addition of new plants. Enjoy the gardens this spring!

Yorkshire Gardens visit Harewood House Harewood House in Yorkshire has rare plants Flowers in bloom at Harewood House in Yorkshire Rare plants at gardens in Harewood House in Yorkshire See spring plants at Harewood House in Yorkshire Visit Yorkshire Gardens and see Harewood House Gardens in Yorkshire include Harewood House Visit Yorkshire to see stunning gardens at Harewood

 

Harewood Volunteer Programme – why not join us?

Now in its 19th year, the Harewood Volunteer Programme continues to go from strength to strength. In 2016, over 18,000 hours were given by volunteers, supporting Harewood House Trust. With over 200 returning volunteers, the programme, and importantly the people who give their time, are an integral part of the charity.

Each year, all Harewood’s dedicated volunteers attend a Welcome Day as Harewood House once again prepares to open its doors on 24th March. The atmosphere is always fantastic as old friends and new gather together to preview what’s in store for the forthcoming year. This year, a focus on our Victorian heritage awaits with rare objects owned by Queen Victoria on display alongside costumes from ITV’s Victoria series.

Of the 200 volunteers who regularly give their time, over half are based in the House where they play a vital role welcoming visitors. They cast a watchful eye over the rooms they are caring for making sure that our visitors, members, coach groups and schools get the best out of their time in the house.

Harewood House in Yorkshire has volunteeres

Mary Cook has volunteered in the house for over 13 years. Mary said, “I started volunteering after a friend recommended Harewood to me. 13 years later, I’m still enjoying meeting visitors and learning from them.

When you start volunteering at Harewood there isn’t a prerequisite to know everything but as you spend time in each room you gain more and more knowledge. After volunteering at Harewood I’m always buzzing and my mind is full of all the interesting people and fellow volunteers I have met that day.”

Volunteers in Yorkshire at Harewood House Farm Experience

Harewood’s Volunteer Programme extends far beyond the House with volunteers giving their time all year round in the Gardens, Bird Garden and Farm Experience. As a licensed zoo, Harewood’s Bird Garden supports students each year through the volunteer opportunities it offers. Many choose to use their time at Harewood to support further education and career ambitions in zoology and animal welfare.

With 120 acres of formal grounds including the Terrace, Himalayan Garden and Walled Garden, help and support from our dedicated band of garden volunteers is invaluable ensuring the grounds and gardens always look at their very best.

Volunteers at Harewood working in the garden

Alan Skedd, is in his 10th season as a Garden Volunteer. Alan said, “Volunteering is useful, productive and satisfying. I get pleasure from seeing how my efforts make a difference and I hope to continue volunteering until age and my health allows”.

Head Gardner, Trevor Nicholson said, “Our garden volunteers play a vital role in maintaining the grounds supporting with weeding, pruning and other tasks which can be endless in a place as large as Harewood.”

Every department from Marketing to Education values the important role that volunteers have in the Trust. At a time when the demand for volunteers is at an all-time high, we know that we are incredibly lucky to have the support and help of so many dedicated people.

To volunteer at Harewood, is to experience one of Yorkshire’s most beautiful houses and landscapes, and to be part of a very special team. Many volunteers return season after season, renewing friendships and deriving satisfaction knowing they have contributed to history of this great house.

If volunteering at Harewood is something that would appeal to you it is not too late to sign up before the House and grounds open on March 24th. There are many opportunities from the Bookshop which is entirely run and managed by volunteers, to the Shuttle Bus which was responsible for transporting over 21,000 people around Harewood in 2016.

To join the scheme or if you have any questions simply contact the Volunteer Coordinator on volunteer@harewood.org or visit our website.

Early Autumn in Harewood’s Gardens

Views of the Terrace garden at Harewood House in Leeds

A note from Trevor Nicholson, Head Gardener, Harewood House Trust

The gardens team at Harewood are responsible for maintaining over 100 acres of beautiful Grade 1 listed gardens, grounds and woodlands. From the elaborate colour schemes, flower borders and fountains on the Victorian terrace gardens, to the naturalistic planting around the lakeside and in the Himalayan garden, the team and I work extremely hard to ensure that every space is not only looking its best, but also being planned and developed to eventually reach its full potential.

The Victorian parterre, on the south front of the house, is the jewel-in-the-crown among Harewood’s well-known gardens. With over a mile of box hedging clipped into an intricate pattern and filled with thousands of seasonal plants and bulbs, this formal garden takes a great deal of precision and care to maintain. At this time of year, Tom and Harry, the terrace gardeners, are busy pruning, dead-heading and weeding, as well as implementing a programme of turf improvements in preparation for the winter months. The tall hornbeam hedges have been clipped and, in the coming few weeks, we will start lifting and dividing tender plants in the herbaceous borders, moving them to other parts of the gardens and making way for the planting of thousands of tulips.

The Archery Border, situated at the foot of the terrace wall, is in its prime at this time of year. The south facing aspect coupled with the 15ft high sandstone wall provides the right environment for growing a range of exotic and tender plants. The hot colour scheme for late summer interest includes Mediterranean and tropical plants, and is a bold and vibrant display. We’ve just a visit from two gardeners from Kew who have written to me describing the Archery Border as being still “amazing!” at this time of year. The twelve-foot-high giant Dahlia (D. imperialis), flowering gingers, red hot pokers and Mexican sunflowers, as well as the ‘Devil’s Tobacco’ (Lobelia tupa) are all making the most the mild conditions of early autumn.

Visit Yorkshire to enjoy gardens at Harewood

The bridge was added in 2006 to increase paths through the garden and offering new views of the area.

The Himalayan Garden is one of my personal favourites; I have spent more than twenty years researching Chines and Himalayan plants and sympathetically developing this charming and tranquil garden. Helen, the gardener who maintains this area, is busy weeding the primula glades ready for new planting to be incorporated for spring colour. These boggy areas are being enriched annually, and with the candelabra primulas in late May and early June creating a vivid carpet of colour alongside the waterfall and stream, it’s a wonderfully vibrant display, which I would recommend visiting every year.

Harewood House has an popular walled garden

Beyond the formal gardens, Harewood is also home to an historic Walled Garden. It may not be widely known that the Walled Garden was in fact one of the first structures Edwin Lascelles had built when setting about constructing the Harewood you see today. Built in stages from 1755, a couple of years before the first stones were laid for the house, the warm red brick walls are worlds away from the formal Terraces many of our visitors are so familiar with.

At the time, the Walled Garden, with its double-brick ‘hot’ walls, was cutting edge cultivation technology. The desire to have soft fruits and exotic foods out of season, which was at the height of Victorian fashion at county houses like Harewood, which would host lavish dinners with grapes, figs, and melons normally only grown in warmer, European climates.

The enclosed space with high walls acts perfectly as a suntrap, literally! The south-western angle of Harewood’s Walled Garden captures the sun’s rays, warming the soil quickly to create perfect growing conditions for fruit, vegetables and flowers. They also act as protection from wildlife such as deer, and as a visual barrier between the designed landscape and the functionally arranged spaces necessary for intensive production.

Spanning an acre of land, the Walled Garden currently houses twelve plots and a fruit orchard, all of which is maintained by Jen, our gardener, along with Tom, our new horticulture apprentice from Askham Bryan College. The mixed flowers and vegetable beds create a strong visual impact as you arrive through the old wooden door.

An authentic Walled Garden at Harewood

Cabbages are grown in the Walled Garden at Harewood

This year, the harvest has been particularly good. The warm weather has created a long growing season, and with high soil temperatures has supported bountiful yields of such things as potatoes and brassicas.

Before Harewood closes to the public on October 30th, visitors should come and see the beautiful dahlias in full bloom and enjoy the wonderful orchard bearing autumnal fruits. The late tender and hardy perennials are looking great too.

Across the entire gardens, we are also turning our attention towards our spring bulb planting schemes. It’s a huge undertaking each year which is made possible with the help of many of our garden volunteers. I am busy designing new tulip schemes for the Terrace, daffodil glades along the lakeside and bluebells for the woodlands.

Maintaining this wonderful space is a real privilege and one that we enjoy sharing with our visitors. We hope that you can join us and enjoy the last of the autumnal summer sun.

Explore the Himalayan Garden at Harewood House

The Himalayan Garden at Harewood is a marvelous place to explore during spring. The bright colours of the rhododendrons, the fresh green leaves in the trees create a wonderful atmosphere which is a complete contrast to the formal Terraces which Harewood is best known for. It’s a place which includes a massive variety of naturalised planting which has matured since it’s creation in 2007. Here are a few highlights visitors to the garden can enjoy now.

Spring Blooms at Harewood

Visit the Terrace at Harewood in Yorkshire

Next year is an important year for the gardens due to the ‘Capability’ Brown Tercentenary celebrations with our own exhibition programme forming part of Harewood’s response. All eyes will be on the gardens and landscape so we want them to look their very best. We have reintroduced a tulip scheme in the Terrace borders to give a strong early season display. We have planted 3,600 grape hyacinths in the Pyramid beds on the West Upper Terrace, with the deep purple foliage of Heuchera being included as part of the scheme.

Throughout winter we have been busy planting thousands of bulbs along the Lakeside and within the Bird Garden naturalising the space. With 10,000 English Bluebells, over 1,000 Snake’s Head Fritillary and 7,000 botanical daffodils (Narcissi) introduced on the grassy slopes, spring promises to be filled with colour. That’s not all! 4,000 Wood Anemones, Cyclamen and many more have been planted to enrich these woodland gardens.

Our major project work however has been concentrated in the Bird Garden with tonnes of overgrown shrubbery being removed. New views across the Lake have been opened up and we have an exciting planting scheme to follow which will be introduced throughout 2016.

We are all looking forward to seeing you again at Harewood this season.