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Celebrating the year of the English Garden

11th February 2016

Categories: News

2016 is the Year of the English Garden, marking the 300th Anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. He transformed landscapes across England in the 18th century replacing the formal and enclosed gardens that had been typical before, using a new natural style, now considered quintessentially English.

His influence can be seen in many places and of course the Harrogate District boasts many and varied fine gardens and two of the country’s most popular flower shows; indeed Visit Harrogate will be launching its Gardens Campaign and new gardens guide at the Spring Flower Show on the 21st April. Look out for the leaflet to help you plan your visits around the District’s gardens. In the meantime here’s a flavour of what the District has to offer.

Look out for news of R.H.S. Garden Harlow Carr’s plans for the future over the next few months; there are certainly exciting times ahead. Awarded Green Flag status for their high quality maintenance and facilities Ripon’s Spa Gardens are well worth a visit. Named after its German twin town Knaresborough’s Bebra Gardens occupy a commanding position offering great views across the Nidd; a natural vista that Capability Brown would have been proud of!

The Water Gardens at Studley Royal were created by father and son John and William Aislabie. Work began on the Lake, Canal and Moon Pond in the year of Capability Brown’s birth and half a century later William bought the Fountains Abbey estate to complete the garden and create the ultimate vista. The estate is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Another example of the Aislabies’ work can be found at Hackfall Wood near Masham. It is a treasure trove of grottoes, follies, surprise views and a fountain in a naturalized setting.

Capability Brown shares a 300th birthday with Beningbrough Hall. There is much to see in its woodland, riverside and herbaceous border walks but there is also a fascinating, working walled kitchen which supplies the café. It was one of the first kitchen gardens to be renovated by the National Trust and its 1.5 acres is home to a myriad of fruit, vegetable and salad varieties. The orchard has over 50 varieties of apples and a striking avenue of pears to walk under – just make sure you wear a hat if you visit in autumn.

Whatever the time of year there will be a garden somewhere in the district with something to see.

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