Visiting gardens is a favorite activity when we travel to the UK, and our recent trip was no exception. Often, the gardens are a feature of a historic home we are touring, but in this case, Royal Horticulture Society Garden Harlow Carr is a destination in its own right. The Garden has grown to 58 acres; originally, the Society leased 26 acres of mixed woodland, pasture and arable land at Harlow Hill from Harrogate Corporation, and opened the Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens in 1950.
The gardens stand on what was once part of the Forest of Knaresborough, an ancient Royal hunting ground. Springs of sulphur water were discovered here in 1734 but development of the site as a spa did not take place for more than 100 years.
Sitting in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, Royal Horticulture Society Garden Harlow Carr offers a variety of growing landscapes, from running and still water, to woodland and wildflower meadows. Highlights include the lavish Main Borders, bursting with generous prairie-style planting, and the lush, moisture-loving plants around Streamside.
The Four Seasons, an extraordinary collection of busts inspired by the seasons and created by contemporary American artist and filmmaker Philip Haas, were on display throughout the grounds. Somehow, I missed one of them!
Although much of the garden was past its prime during our visit in early November, we still encountered plenty to enjoy.