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Secrets of the Himalayan Garden

Harewood is renowned for its beautiful gardens and inspiring planting schemes. In the Himalayan Garden, which is at its peak between April and July, the stream, rock garden, waterfall and mature planting give this enclave of the grounds a natural, untamed feel, not unlike being in a miniature version of a Himalayan valley.

Harewood House in Yorkshire has a wild garden

Harewood’s Himalayan Garden contains many rare and unusual plants, many of which were introduced by intrepid plant explorers, and include Blue Poppies, Cobra Lilies, Primulas and Orchids, all planted amidst a host of trees, shrubs, rhododendrons and bamboos.

What to look out for?

Rare plants grown in Harewood House in Yorkshire

These must include the famous Blue Poppies of the genus Meconopsis from the Sino-Himalayan region. There are several kinds of Chinese and Himalayan poppies growing in the Himalayan Garden and many more are being planted this spring. They’re not all blue either, other colours include lemon, white, pink and red. Some species grow as small Alpine plants on thin soil in the rock garden, whilst others can grow to 2 metres on humus-rich, moist soil in the woodland garden.

 

Rare Terrestrial Orchids at Harewood House in Yorkshire

 

If you’re looking for orchids there are several types growing in the Himalayan Garden, mainly in the gorge and rock garden area. Terrestrial orchids representing genera such as Pleione, Cypripedium and Calanthe can be found at Harewood.

 

 

Harewood House has unusual plants in the gardensCobra Lilies of the genus Arisaema are an exciting and unusual addition to any garden. There are several species growing at Harewood, all of which are very striking plants with their distinctive snake-like appearance. They are very variable too with some having large reticulated hoods with long appendages and very large leaves, whilst some are short and slender with club-like appendages and narrow leaves. One species even has a cobra-like hood and a twisted tongue-like appendage and can grow up to 2 metres tall. Keep a look out for this striking plant in July.

 

Primulas are grown at Harewood House in Yorkshire

 

One of the simplest and most striking plants to grow in the Himalayan Garden is the “Candelabra” primula. Flowering between May and June, this is a robust spieces, thriving in wet soils. From western Sichuan, the bright pink flowers stand out against the pale silver stems.

Rhododendron:

Rhododendron grow at Harewood House in Yorkshire

One of the finest displays of colour at Harewood in spring is derived from the hundreds of species and hybrid rhododendrons that grow throughout the grounds. From dwarf species with tiny leaves and flowers growing in rock crevices in the gorge to tree rhododendrons standing upwards of 20 feet tall with large trusses of funnel-shaped flowers growing in the woodland garden, there is a huge variety of colour and form here. The best time to see the rhododendrons in flower is between April and June, although we do have a beautifully fragrant white-flowered species which flowers in late summer. This is Rhododendron auriculatum which was HRH Princess Mary’s favourite.

Top Tips for Growing Rhododendron from our Head Gardener:

Trevor has been caring for Harewood’s gardens for over 20 years now and has some hints to help you choose and successfully grow rhododendrons in your own garden.

  1. Choose the right rhododendron for your particular site and buy quality plants from a good nursery. There are so many different kinds of Rhododendron available to suit all kinds of situations. Ask at the nursery for advice on the best rhododendrons for your site.
  2. Plant in moisture-retentive acid soil. Good drainage is also important, and on some sites it is better to plant in a shallow scoop, firm in with soil and then mound-up to the top of the root-ball with compost rather than to plant in a pit. At Harewood, we add compost at planting but prefer to add this to the upper part of the root-ball rather than sitting the plant onto a layer of compost, which then sinks leaving the plant sitting in a sump which collects water, especially in winter.
  3. Keep your plants healthy by applying an ericaceous fertiliser annually in early spring, and giving them a plentiful supply of water during the summer months, followed by a mulch of leaf mould in the autumn.

Don’t forget to come and visit Harewood when we open in April to see these beautiful plants at their best.

Autumn Highlights in the Gardens at Harewood

October plant borders at Harewood House in Yorkshire

With hundreds of acres of rolling landscape adorned with stately trees and framed by mixed woodlands, the grounds at Harewood are well-known for their spectacular autumn colour. But look a little closer, beyond its misty valleys and sylvan slopes – into the gardens – and you’ll be rewarded with an array of hidden gems to discover at Harewood this autumn.

Bejewelled with exotic plants, the Terrace flower borders are a sight to behold as they drip with colour during late summer and autumn. Just when some of the more traditional summer flowers begin to fade, the rich hues of more tender subjects, such as dahlias and salvias, burst onto the scene, adding drama and verve to complement the more muted, velvety tones of such autumn stalwarts as asters and sedums.

Red Hot Pokers in the gardens at Harewood House in Yorkshire

A walk along the Archery Border reveals a whole host of trees and shrubs from all over the world. These provide a framework of ornate leaves and stems, through which, is woven a tapestry of hot colours as displayed by such plants as stately red hot pokers, ornamental gingers and devil’s tobacco.
Notes from Trevor Nicholson, Head Gardener

Green Fingers

Gardeners love the Lakeside Garden at Harewood

Whatever the time of year, the Lakeside Garden provides beautiful views for visitors to enjoy

We have had a very busy ‘winter’ in the grounds and gardens, implementing a plan of practical improvements, which will enhance the quality of our visitor experience. Through a closer working relationship with the Estate, the gardens’ staff have ventured beyond the gardens to contribute to a wider remit of landscape restoration and conservation. As well as restorative works around the Church and to the main approach to the House, much attention has been focussed on the lakeside gardens, where the redressing of overgrown shrubberies has reopened old vistas across the lake, as well as creating new ones. The Himalayan Garden has been transformed over the past few months in a similar fashion and the area has been cleared of dense vegetation, so as to reveal the underlying contours and structure of this attractive garden.

We are currently working behind-the-scenes on the planning of new summer bedding schemes for the Terrace, to coincide with the arrival of Le Tour de France in July, as well as some impressive new   planting in the borders. In the Walled Garden, much has been done to improve the standards of upkeep in the kitchen garden, where a whole range of modern and heritage vegetables will be grown side-by-side throughout the coming season. Come and visit the Gardens and Grounds to discover more.