Northern garden lovers may already be familiar with Harlow Carr. Its long streamside garden is an almost irresistible lure for me when the swathes of candelabra primulas or blue poppies are in flower, but it’s well worth a visit at almost any time of the year.
These pictures are from my latest outing, a little over a week ago. It was then I learned about their new flower show which will take place from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June 2016. Strangely I couldn’t see the show listed on the Harlow Carr pages of the website, not even on their events listing page, but it seems well worth adding to our calendars.
RHS garden shows have a different feel than those at Chelsea or Hampton Court – more like a village garden party. Normal admission applies, but you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck, as our friends across the pond might say.
Thirty specialist plant nurseries will be bringing displays to Harlow Carr, so it’s a great chance to see some unusual cultivars in show conditions and to ask advice from the people who grow them. Garden art lovers will have fun exploring the pop up sculpture trail which will decorate the streamside garden for a month.
I liked the way these bulbs (alliums?) were softening wire cubes of stones in one of the model gardens on permanent display. The mulch of pebbles or stone chips and the shadows cast by the climber were attractive too. You might just be able to make out the wire trailing outwards to the colourful walls as a finishing touch.
It’s so difficult to predict when flowers will be in bloom, but my amateur guess is that the primulas and blue poppies will be approaching their peak, at the time of the show, perhaps tantalisingly so. The pictures here and here were taken on the 21st June 2015. The ones below show this year’s foliage already emerging.
I confess to wondering how the local roads and car parks will cope with traffic during the Flower Show. I’m sure this will have been at the top of the event planners’ list.
Shows like this are a perk of RHS membership and also great value, in my opinion, for just the normal entrance fee charged to non-members. You can find news of all three RHS Flower Shows (perhaps better called Garden Shows) here on the main RHS site.
We visited the much larger Wisley Garden for their 2014 show and I can wholeheartedly recommend it. I’ve yet to visit the other two RHS gardens, Hyde Hall and Rosemoor which does not have a show.
If you know these gardens, I’d love to know which you think should be the highest on my to-visit list and if there are any times of the year you’d particularly recommend.
Information and links
Harlow Carr GardeN address and opening times
RHS Garden Harlow Carr,
Harlow Carr is open from 9.30 all year round except Christmas Day. Closing times are seasonal: as always, please check the website before travelling.
Royal Horticultural Society membership
Find out more about membership of the UK’s largest gardening charity here.
One of the many practical benefits is free access for you and a ‘family guest’ or two children to their beautifully maintained, world-class gardens: Wisley in Surrey, Hyde Hall in Essex, Rosemoor in Devon and Harlow Carr in Yorkshire. All except the last are a 4-5 hr drive for me, so I was overjoyed to hear the RHS had chosen nearby Salford for their new northern home, due to open in 2018. I can’t wait!