Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Pink and grey

RHS Harlow Carr - another exuberant planter and another example of a sensitive arrangement of colours, with pink and rich aubergine shades against a dove grey wall. They take as much care over their colour choices in the planting as an interior designer would over fabrics and paints. I love wood that has been allowed to turn silvery, like that bench.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Wild flower mixture

RHS Harlow Carr - at one time our meadows used to be like this. Now we are encouraged to plant wild flower mixtures in our gardens to encourage bees and butterflies. There is something sweetly innocent about daisies and cornflowers.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Harey Bikers

RHS Harlow Carr - Anyone with a finger on the pulse of popular British culture will appreciate this. It is, of course, a tribute to the recent Tour de France; the first day's stage finished in Harrogate. The title of the sculpture also references a popular TV programme featuring 'two northern blokes with a passion for food, cooking and motorbikes'- The Hairy Bikers.  There were several willow sculptures around the RHS Garden. I really liked them.

Saturday, 13 September 2014


RHS Harlow Carr - some of the colourful herbaceous planting in the long borders. I thought the juxtaposition of colours and shapes was inspired.  Look at those tall, wispy grasses in the background, forming a screen. Taken altogether, it reminds me of fireworks.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Soothing greens

RHS Harlow Carr - It's not all about colour. There are huge vistas of soothing green - every shade of green under the sun.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Purple haze

RHS Harlow Carr - A close-up view of some planted tubs in the modern garden. So simple and yet very effective. I love that purple wall too!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The story of O

RHS Harlow Carr - The most up-to-date garden in the 'Gardens Through Time' series is this very modern space, designed by Diarmuid Gavin. He is a renowned garden designer, well-known from various television series. 'Reflecting the aspirations of the modern home-owner', the garden features sculptural planting and clever use of glass, strong colour and shapes and reflective surfaces. It showcases the garden almost as another room of the house. I loved it, loved the harmony of colour and the pleasing curves.... though unfortunately it would look very odd if I tried to replicate it around my little Victorian house!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Regency urn

RHS Harlow Carr  - 'Set pieces' are everywhere - plantings in tubs, urns and other containers adding height and complementing the planting in beds and borders. A few years ago the BBC commissioned a series of small plots for a TV programme: 'Gardens Through Time', to show how the gardens of middle-class homes have evolved and how garden fashions have changed through the years.  This planted urn was part of the Regency garden, harking back to the early 1800s when ordinary people (not 'the landed gentry') started to actively cultivate gardens.

Monday, 8 September 2014

The kiss of the sun

RHS Harlow Carr - an apt verse by Dorothy Frances Gurney, a Victorian poet and hymn writer, etched on a stone in the streamside garden.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

A Garden of Delights

I spent a blissful day recently at the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Garden at Harlow Carr near Harrogate. Lucky enough to live not far away, I try to get there at least a couple of times a year. It's a delightful place, and over the years I've seen it grow and develop very imaginatively. It's a showcase for different plant cultivars and gardening techniques. They often run trials there - seeds, plants, gardening methods. If you were so inclined, I'm sure you could learn a lot. As I've said before, I'm not a keen gardener. I just love enjoying the results of other people's skills and hard work.

The weather was perfect for wandering around the huge garden, taking in the sights and scents. The planting, especially on the long borders, is glorious. It was like walking around inside an Impressionist painting.

I know how much I enjoy seeing pictures of gardens on other blogs so I make no apology for scheduling quite few photos from my day out, with few words necessary. With my daughter due to give birth anytime soon, life is getting busy. The series will enable me to step back from the discipline of regular blogging - though I might interrupt it sometimes. Saltaire Festival is coming up soon and if I'm around I will probably get a few snaps there. The garden series will take us through to the autumn, but it will be good to hang on to the summer just a bit longer, even if only in photos.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Cat among the plant pots

First colour match your flower display to the drainpipes, then add in a black cat for good luck. What more do you want?

Friday, 5 September 2014

Double bracket

Another bracket fungus, this one a little closer to home, spotted on a recent walk up the riverside near the Rowing Club.  I really haven't a clue what type this one is; there appear to be several not dissimilar examples. Aren't fungi amazing things? Very other-worldly, I think. Sadly, I suspect it means this tree is on its way out. The fruiting body is the outward and visible sign of decay and rot to the heartwood of the tree.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Green peace

A few yards up-river from Hirst Weir on the River Aire, the scene looks very peaceful. It's not always quite as undisturbed. This is where the Bradford Amateur Rowing Club has their clubhouse, so often there are sculls out on the river practising.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Join the queue

Britons have a reputation for waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) in queues. But it's not often that you see a queue for the lock at Hirst Wood. There is just room for two narrowboats side-by-side, though it is a tight fit and requires some careful manoeuvring. The first of the two boats was registered in Deal in Kent, so they had travelled a long way.