After renewing my RHS membership at the end of last year, we thought we'd take our first trip of the year to Harlow Carr yesterday. I think we chose the nicest day of the month so far, though it was very cold, the sun was shining.
You wouldn't have thought there was still snow on the ground in Harrogate as it was such a bright day, but much of the garden was still covered in a thin layer of the white stuff.
It was pleasant in the sunshine but was quite bitter when the wind blew so we only spent about an hour there and didn't get to see lots of areas, but I'll show you the bits I managed to photograph.
It's evident by the shoots breaking through the earth that the garden is starting to wake up. I'm sure the snow will have slowed everything down but we can see that there's plenty of things eagerly waiting for spring to arrive.
There's some beautiful witch hazel in the gardens, a wonderful shrub for winter interest and scent, though I didn't catch any of the fragrance yesterday. Apparently, you should breathe on the flowers to warm them up on cold days before they'll release their scent.
I love this leaf bin. As the leaves are held in a teapot, does it make them tea leaves?
I have to confess that my favourite part of Harlow Carr is the Kitchen Garden. It includes raised beds for vegetables, a fruit and herb garden, willow beds and flowers for cutting. Much of this garden was covered in remnants of snow, but you can still see that it's productive in the winter as well as summer months.
There's a large rhubarb patch and many of the plants are being forced with these attractive rhubarb forcers.
This photo doesn't show the trained apple trees very well. I'm sure they'll become more evident once they have leaves again.
Each tree has one of these lovely wooden labels giving its name.
I'm so envious of this greenhouse, isn't it a beauty? The coldframes down the side would come in extremely handy too.
At the moment, the greenhouse is filled with pots of herbs and bulbs. Everything is well labelled.
At the back of a shed are these trained currant bushes. There's both red and white currants and they're being grown in containers. I'm always pleased to see things growing successfully in pots as not everyone has a garden but it doesn't mean they can't grow fruit and veg.
By now, I was getting rather cold so we made our way to the Alpine House. As you can see, it's a beautiful building and a brilliant place to take shelter from the icy wind.
Outside the Alpine House are these wonderful little troughs filled with saxifrage, sempervivum and dianthus.
As we had a break from the chill outside, we admired all these wonderful little plants, some of them flowering in the depths of winter.
Most of the plants are grown in pots so they can be moved about in to the best position and replaced once they've done their thing.
There's even plants in the cracks of the display walls.
As we ventured back outside, I decided that I couldn't take the cold any longer so we decided to call it a day.
I'm sure that the next time we visit, those little shoots will be bigger shoots just waiting to burst in to flower.
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