Thursday, June 14, 2007

About Harlow Carr

I went yesterday to the RHS garden at Harlow Carr.As you can tell from the first photo it was raining.
The BBC forecast light showers, but it was torrential rainfall most of day. We dashed between flowers, in between heavy rain. I got soaked within first hour!
The garden is situated on the outskirts of Harrogate, on Crag Lane in a shallow valley. The name Harlow Carr comes from the name of the stream (Harlow Beck) that disects the valley in half.
The Old norse word for land reclaimed from Bog is Carr.

I like the combination of the two names to name the garden.
The guide book says it is poorly drained ground, with heavy clay, and is acidic. The heavy rainfall means the lower garden is prone to flooding. Indeed I saw the water cascading down the paths yesterday. It will be boggy today as it is still raining heavily. The Valley is exposed to the winter chill, and the soil does not warm up untill April or May.
There are sulphur springs beneath the ground too, which make the soil more acidic in places. The springs were discovered in 1571. A businessman called Henry Wright built a hotel and bath house in 1844, and laid out gardens,

It was in 1946 that the Northern Horticultural society was seeking a garden in the North of England to test out hardiness and suitability of plants north of the Trent (river), to be a sister garden to the RHS garden at Wisley.
They settled on Henry Wrights Estate, and begun developing the gardens bringing new plants, planting massses of Rhodadendrums, and taming the woodland.
in 2001 the Northern Horticultural Society merged with the Royal Horticultural society, and the gardens have progressed since then. They have been featured on Tv Several times including the Gardens through time programme in 2004.
I love the Yorkshire feel here, making a garden with boggy, acidic, windswept, and frosty conditions. It must certainly test all the plants for hardiness and sustainability.

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