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Getting Hands-On During National Volunteer Week

Volunteering at Harewood

There are over 200 active volunteers working in the Harewood House Trust, giving around 20,000 hours of free support each year to maintain and promote the House, the Gardens and the Bird Garden.

During National Volunteer Week at the beginning of June, members of the Harewood House Senior Management team turned their backs on their paperwork to get hands-on with the volunteers, and spent a half day working side by side in an area very different to their own.

Over ten members of staff took part, which included Trust Director Jane Marriott picking up a spade in the Walled Garden and putting in some of the groundwork ahead of the soon-to-open Seeds of Hope exhibition. Damian Clements, Head of Finance, cast aside his numbers to lead a new charge – that of the Shuttle bus that transports visitors around the Estate. And Trevor Nicholson, Head Gardener, buried his head in the Spanish Library, researching plants from 1918 together with weather conditions recorded in journals during that time, ahead of the new exhibition.

Many volunteers have been with the Trust for over ten years, with new volunteers joining all the time. They possess such a wealth of knowledge of the Collections, of stories relating to people and places and in addition to that, a real passion, dedication and commitment to their work.

The experience across National Volunteer Week was a huge success and the plan is to roll the opportunity out to further staff members across the Trust.

Volunteering at Harewood

Damian Clements, Head of Finance; “This was a great initiative. I had a fantastic experience with Skipper Tim. It was lovely to spend a couple of hours seeing what he gets up to on his rounds and there’s even more to it than I realised.”

Comment from Jules Caton, Interim Marketing Advisor; “I found it a real privilege to spend the time feeding chickens, meeting goats and collecting eggs and I very much enjoyed meeting the team who were working in the Walled Garden. This was a great experience.”

To keep up to date with news and behind the scenes from the Harewood House Trust, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Walled Garden update…heritage varieties and organic techniques to prevent pests

Since we’ve had all that rain and, now that the sun has come out, the vegetable crops are growing really well in the Walled Garden!

Releasing ladybirds
Simpson Lettuce
Carot-fly barrier protects crops without using chemicals
Globe Artichokes
Grape Vines in the Glasshouses (not currently accesible to visitor, but watch this space!)
Lettuce Rows
Onions growing well…

We’re using various organic techniques to prevent pests, including putting fine gauze around the carrot plots to act as a barrier against carrot root fly.

There are some interesting heritage varieties to be seen now too. On some of the indoor crops, instead of using chemicals to control pests such as ‘mealy bugs’ we are using a specially-bred ladybird which eats them!

Visit the Walled Garden at Harewood…

Read more about the Walled Garden including videos, recipes and more!

Strawberries on the way…!

In the strawberry patch in our Walled Garden there are absolutely loads of strawberries forming!

Strawberries – fruits flowering after pollination by the bumblebees!

There are only a few flowers left to be pollinated, the rest have been and the fruits are now forming and gradually dropping under their own weight down onto the straw mulch as they swell.

We just need the sun to come out and ripen them, then you’ll be able to buy your own fresh punnet from our shop…mmm!

Read more about our Gardens including videos and recipes on our website…

Developments in the Walled Garden at Harewood…

The ‘Dig for Victory’ bed is starting to show results…with peas, beans and potatoes looking promising…

As well as the three varieties we are growing as part of the ‘Dig for Victory’ plot, we have a further ten different varieties of potato growing in the Walled Garden.

Crops in the Walled Garden are all labelled so you can take a look for yourself and get tips and ideas for growing in your own garden!

Gardeners are always on hand and happy to answer questions too…

The Walled Garden is a hive of activity throughout the Summer months, harking back to its heyday when it would have been the centre of food production for the Estate.

Some of the varieties we grow…


Arran Victory was bred in the Isle of Arran by Donald Mackelvie. Victory, the oldest of the “Arrans” still grown, was named in 1918 in celebration of the ending of the war. It is rare and is one of only two blue skinned varieties still available for general cultivation. It is high yielding given a long season.


Home Guard. This first early variety was first introduced in 1942 and was grown by Jeremy Shirley’s father in the late 1940’s – the Dad’s Army Days!
Home Guard is a superior potato of excellent flavour that does not go floury like some varieties. Both the skin and flesh is pure white. High yielding and with good resistance to scab, this explains why this popular wartime variety found huge commercial success – and has continued to remain one of the gardener’s favourites since WWII.

Kelvedon Wonder has been a favourite with gardeners for many years. It is an early variety but is suitable for successional sowings throughout the season.

Bean, Broad
Green Windsor. Those of you old enough to recall those great old days of English gastronomy just after the last war will remember that the choice of starters for a 3-course, table d´hote (à la carte had yet to be invented) meal was either fruit juice or the ubiquitous Brown Windsor Soup. Introduced in 1831, this ever popular variety was once one of the main ingredients of said soup.


You can read more about the Walled Garden on our website, including the free beekeeping demonstrations run by the Harrogate & Ripon Beekeepers Association which take place in the Walled Garden on Saturdays from now for the rest of the Summer.

Enjoy the Gardens at Harewood this Summer!

Read more about the Gardens at Harewood here…

New bumblebee lodges in the Walled Garden…

Gardens - Installing Bumblebee Lodges Helen

In response to the global crisis in bee populations bumblebee ‘lodges’ are being installed in amongst the vegetable and fruit beds and orchard in the Walled Garden at Harewood for the second year.

Head Gardener Trevor explains it’s all part of Harewood’s conservation and sustainability strategy, “We use bumblebees to help with pollination in the orchard and vegetable garden. Bumblebees carry more pollen, visit more flowers and work at lower temperatures than the average honey bee and we’re keen to support British bumblebee populations as much as we can.” The Beepol bumblebee ‘lodges’ were installed last year for the first time and were a great success with bees buzzing happily in the borders.

Bumblebee approaching wax moth guard

What’s new this year, is a wax-moth-guard which attaches to each of the Beepol Lodges…

The nests and hives of a number of different bee species, including bumblebees, are sometimes invaded by wax moths. Wax moths lay their eggs within or close to the bee nests and the larvae hatch then disperse into the nest feeding on the contents. If nests are invaded during the early stage, then the wax moth infestation is often fatal.

Amazingly, the bumblebees soon learn how to push open the guard to leave and return to the nest. Wax moths however, are neither strong enough or clever enough to do this! It’s a great chemical-free solution.

Bumblebee-friendly flowers in the Walled Garden

You can find out more about the Beepol Lodges, and wax-moth-guards on the Beepol website, and Beepol Lodges will shortly be available to purchase from our Bookshop and Plant Stall in Terrace Cottage here at Harewood.

Gardens have become such important places for bees – here at Harewood the Gardens Team also make a point of growing bee-friendly plants such as salvias, catmint, raspberries, lavender, green manures such as phacelia, and other flowering shrubs.

Beekeeping Taster Days and Demonstrations…

Beekeeping taster day

The Harrogate and Ripon Beekeepers Association also have a working apiary in the Walled Garden where they run Beekeeping Taster Days and demonstrations throughout the summer, helping people to find out more about bees and get some hands-on experience if they are thinking about keeping their own…

Explore the delights of the Walled Garden this summer!

Click here to visit the gardens webpages for videos, recipes and more…