colours flowering bulbs garden design garden designers garden photography gardening gardens half-hardy perennials hardy perennials meadows National Garden Scheme NGS Yorkshire

The Sheffield Gardens – Part 2 – James Hitchmough’s patch

So during our weekend up in Sheffield after visiting the garden of Nigel Dunnett, we moved on to explore the garden of his colleague, Professor James Hitchmough. This garden was half way up a steep narrow road near the city centre with terraced houses on both sides.

An NGS sign pointed us through a gateway, where a path took us through the side garden where a wooden gate opened up to reveal the back garden, where glimpses of yellow, orange and red invited us to explore further.

These colourful glimpses hinted at the array of South African bulbs such as watsonias and gladioli, which formed part of a garden that was one low growing meadow below a few gnarled old apple trees. This was no surprise as James Hitchmough is the pioneer of seed sown meadows mixed with such bulbs, but his public gardens such as the one at Wisley tend to be so much larger than his own little patch.

It is a gentle garden with foliage playing an important role and many blues, pinks and whites adding some subtlety.

This was a small but so interesting and atmospheric too.


outdoor sculpture sculpture Yorkshire

Family visit to Yorkshire Park Part 2 – outside

Back at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park we saw Arabella enjoying the huge muddy puddles created by the storm that battered the site as we enjoyed the inside gallery spaces. We meanwhile enjoyed a few outdoor pieces alongside the puddles while we watched her antics. We are so pleased with how Arabella has inherited our love of puddles!


The following photos are a selection of those taken around the sculpture park.


We always enjoy spending time in any James Turrell’s sky spaces and this one called “Deer Shelter” was the first we ever found.


Or final stop was in the chapel gallery with a single installation filling the main room. Sheets and music hang among white string “nests”. All of this rises from a piano. This space had a magical atmosphere.


So that was the end of our family holiday in Scotland and a few extra days in Yorkshire.


Land Art landscapes light light quality outdoor sculpture photography sculpture trees Yorkshire

A Family Holiday in Scotland – Part 7 Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The last day of our family holiday, where we spent a week in the Scottish Borders, was spent part way during our journey home at The Yorkshire Sculture Park. This is a favourite place for our family so it was great to all be there together. There are always top quality gallery shows and outdoor exhibitions as well as the permanent collection of outside sculpture all dispayed in beautiful parkland.

Before going out to the underground gallery to look at the work of Guiseppe Penone, we had a quick look at exhibitions inside which we all felt were rather strange except  for Arabella who enjoyed the animals. She loves all animals! See what you think of these.


We went out into the unnaturally cool, wet July morning across the gravel display area into the main gallery. This building is so good at displaying sculpture and is fascinating in its own right. The right hand photo of the three below shows part of the first piece we spotted as we entered the gallery building.


In the main gallery spaces we were enthralled by Guiseppe Penone’s exhibition “A Tree in the Wood”, each piece holding our attention. The centre piece was a tree carved to follow the natural contours and get into its soul. It was a beautiful piece! The tree was so long that the sculptural piece went through two galleries passing through from one to another.


This sculptural piece was one of the most beautiful pieces Jude and I could ever remember experiencing, as the sculptor successfully discovered and enhanced the textures, shapes contours and even the soul of the tree when it was still living. Now this tree will live on for ever, unaffected by storms, freezing conditions and long winters.

But there were plenty of other examples of his tree and wood sculptures here to enjoy plus a few 2D pieces.


After hours of being enthralled by “A Tree in the Wood” we eventually moved outside to a very wet parkland. Arabella however who loves puddles almost above all else soon spotted one result of the rain. To enjoy this you will have to await my next post.




architecture buildings National Trust photography The National Trust Yorkshire

A Family Holiday in Scotland – Part 6 – Fountains

After our great family holiday staying in our cottage holiday home in the Scottish Borders, we took a few days to make our way home to make our holiday together  last a little bit longer. We enjoyed two days in Yorkshire visiting Fountains Abbey and The Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

In this post we will share our day at Fountains. After a wet and stormy drive down from Scotland we arrived in Yorkshire for an overnight stay. Jude and I had not been to Fountains Abbey for years so were pleased to take the family there.

As we wandered down the sloping pathto the abbey ruins we could admire the amount of structure still left standing. It is really impressive.


Arabella enjoys life and loves going out and about – outside is where she prefers to be.

Once down among the stonework you can really appreciate the strength of the building and the sheer brilliance of it’s construction.


Mother Nature enjoys a good ruin to grow on finding the tiniest crack with a drop of soil in in which to grow.


The monks had left us a convenient stone seat on which we could perch for a picnic.

As we started clearing our picnic away the clouds darkened and cold rain drops fell. We struggled to find any shelter from the following storm. Arabella never minds rain because it means puddles, her favourite phenomena. I hope you enjoy this set of photos where she shows her delight at puddles.


We just had time to explore the outside boundaries of the site before the closing time closed in on us.


We followed the finger posts back to the car park at the end of another great family day out.


garden design garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials meadows ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs RHS Yorkshire

Two RHS Gardens – Part 2 Harlow Carr

To visit the second of the RHS gardens we visited during 2017 we had to travel north up to Yorkshire and we stayed near Harrogate, a beautiful spa town. This is the RHS garden we probably visit the most as it is our favourite and we love the area it is situated in. We chose to go up in late summer. We particularly enjoy the Winter Garden and the new perennial gardens and as we had already visited to see the Winter Garden so we needed to see the perennials borders too.

The RHS are excellent at giving a warm welcome to its visitors and we certainly felt that at their most northerly garden, beautiful planters, great breakfast at the famous “Betty’s Tearooms” and cheerful plants as we entered the main gardens, including bright, cheerful meadow planting.

A recent children’s competition involving creating miniature gardens in old boots provided some entertainment at the bottom of the main steps into the garden.

Next we will share moments we enjoyed as we made our way towards the educational centre with its new buildings, glasshouse and plantings.

The gardens around the education centre provide a fine example of contemporary plant choice and plant combinations, starring grasses and tall airy perennials, growing beautifully among gravel, a wildlife pond and a contemporary styled vegetable garden alongside. Even the seating has been carefully chosen to look just right. Nothing has been left to chance!


As mentioned at the beginning of this post we were looking forward in particular to wandering around the borders of “new perennial planting” especially as we were visiting when it should be its prime time. So please enjoy this wander with us by following the gallery. Click on the first picture then navigate with the arrows.


When we were finishing our visit to this wonderful RHS garden we made our way back for a final coffee before finding our car and returning to our hotel, and noticed a large and very beautiful insect hotel alongside the path. It was an heartening end to our exploration.

architecture garden arches garden design garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public hardy perennials ornamental trees and shrubs pergolas Uncategorized woodland woodlands Yorkshire

Parcevall Hall Gardens – Wharfedale

Situated in Wharfedale one of the most beautiful places in North Yorkshire, Parcevall Hall was really difficult to access via narrow roads, hairpin bends and narrow bridges, but it somehow suited the place that we enjoyed one day in September. The gardens were beautiful and typical of those created in the arts and crafts style, the house being redesigned and much developed at that time also.

The house and gardens sit beautifully on a steep slope which certainly added interest for there was much for the garden team and designer to overcome in the making of the garden, slopes and steps abound. Some of the garden was above the hall, a Rose Garden and the area known as Silver Wood, which hid an unusual rock garden. Below the house terraces were dug into the slope and many different garden rooms created. There was strong design to appreciate and beautiful plants to admire.


We walked up from the Garden Office and Tea Rooms after crossing over a tiny clear stream and wandering up through woodland. From a clearing in the woods we enjoyed a view over the rambling rooftops of the hall and all its outbuildings.


The woodland was dotted with berried and flowering shrubs many with signs that birds and rodents had been enjoying them.


Although the plan we were following meant we expected to find the Rock Garden hidden within Silver Wood it was still a wonderful surprising sight when we first came across it. It was a rock garden of huge proportions cut out from the natural slopes and featured a tiny meandering stream falling slowly down its slope. There were some interesting plants to be found among the rocks.


Please follow the gallery below to tour the rock garden with us. Click on first photo and navigate using the arrows.

After leaving the Rock Garden and Silver Wood we wandered around the hall to find the terraced gardens below it. Each terrace had an atmosphere of its own and different plantings. The best way to show you what we found is by using another gallery to help you enjoy these terraces with us.

To finish off this journey around Parcevall Hall I want to show you this little group of bronze hares looking up at the moon. Moonstruck hares! Great little cameo!

One rogue has no interest in the moon at all and had even turned his back on it to preen himself.

autumn autumn colours colours garden design garden photography garden seating gardening gardens gardens open to the public grasses hardy perennials light light quality ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs outdoor sculpture RHS sculpture Yorkshire

Autumn at RHS Harlow Carr – Part Three

I am back with my third and final part of my posts featuring the wonderful RHS garden Harlow Carr. In the first post I mentioned a willow trail so here are a few of the pieces we came across on our wanderings.

2014 10 31_6949 2014 10 31_69502014 10 31_6984 2014 10 31_69592014 10 31_6958

Living fences made from willow and hazel featured strongly in the productive gardens and some included seats built in also made of willow. It was seeing these when they were being created at Harlow Carr during the renovation of the kitchen gardens, that gave us the idea of creating our fedge at our allotment community gardens.

2014 10 31_6951 2014 10 31_6952 2014 10 31_6953 2014 10 31_6955 2014 10 31_6956 2014 10 31_6957

I promised a return to the prairie style borders and my favourite part of late autumn borders, the dried flower heads and seed heads of perennials and grasses. The subtlety of colour and delicate contrasts make for a most pleasing picture.

2014 10 31_6964  2014 10 31_69632014 10 31_6965 2014 10 31_6967 2014 10 31_6968 2014 10 31_6969 2014 10 31_6971 2014 10 31_6972 2014 10 31_6973 2014 10 31_6974

We left the perennial borders to follow paths through the stream garden which would give us the chance for a second look at the winter garden. Willow is used along the water’s edge to secure the bankside using a technique known as spiling. Beautiful stone bridges take the path back and forth over the stream.

2014 10 31_6978 2014 10 31_6979 2014 10 31_6980 2014 10 31_6981 2014 10 31_6983 2014 10 31_69852014 10 31_6987 2014 10 31_69882014 10 31_6990 2014 10 31_69912014 10 31_6992 2014 10 31_69932014 10 31_6994 2014 10 31_69952014 10 31_6996 2014 10 31_69972014 10 31_6998 2014 10 31_69992014 10 31_7000 2014 10 31_70022014 10 31_7003

So that is Harlow Carr the northern jewel in the RHS’s crown, beautiful whenever you visit with surprises galore alongside old favourites. It won’t be long until be come back again!

2014 10 31_7006



autumn autumn colours colours garden design garden photography gardens gardens open to the public half-hardy perennials hardy perennials light light quality ornamental grasses ornamental trees and shrubs sculpture Yorkshire

Autumn at RHS Harlow Carr – Part Two

Back at the end of November I posted part one of a series of three posts related to our visit to the RHS’s northern garden Harlow Carr, so this week I shall post the second and third.

Back to Harlow Carr and we carry on with our wander around the acres of lawns, woodland and borders.

2014 10 31_6916 2014 10 31_6937

The display gardens showing typical gardens through the ages are different to everything else at Harlow Carr. Here we can always find little interesting details.

2014 10 31_6851 2014 10 31_6852 2014 10 31_6850 2014 10 31_6849 2014 10 31_6853 2014 10 31_6855 2014 10 31_6856 2014 10 31_6858 2014 10 31_6859 2014 10 31_6860

We moved off into the woodlands next where among the autumn colours we discovered a trio of wicker pigs and a newly built wooden shelter. Wood leaf carvings decorated the roof.

2014 10 31_6885 2014 10 31_6886 2014 10 31_6884 2014 10 31_6891 2014 10 31_6892 2014 10 31_6893

The low light of an October afternoon added a certain magic to the woodland but we enjoyed finding a different sort of magic was provided by a wooden sculpture of a troll guarding his bridge. Every garden needs a little humour!



2014 10 31_6894 2014 10 31_6904

2014 10 31_6907 2014 10 31_6909

2014 10 31_6898 2014 10 31_6900 

The garden threw up sculptural surprises throughout.



2014 10 31_6901 2014 10 31_6902

The bright colours of the late flowering half-hardy perennial Salvias can cheer up the dullest of days. An unexpected flower however, unexpected but equally bright, was that of a candelabra Primula.

2014 10 31_6924 2014 10 31_6925 2014 10 31_69282014 10 31_6926 2014 10 31_6930 2014 10 31_6932 2014 10 31_6933 2014 10 31_6934 2014 10 31_6935

2014 10 31_6938 2014 10 31_6940



2014 10 31_6922


At this time of year I love the subdued shades of the dried flowers and seed heads of perennials. In the third part of my Harlow Carr posts we shall find these dominate in the large prairie styled borders.

2014 10 31_6927 2014 10 31_6923 2014 10 31_6918


One reason for this return to Harlow Carr was to look at the area dedicated to alpines. We had recently been gifted two old buttler’s sinks which we aim to convert into alpine troughs. We were hoping for inspiration. In the alpine house itself it was the various miniature Oxalis which entranced us, but on the paved area outside we found the alpine troughs which inspired us to make something special of our two sinks.



2014 10 31_6941 2014 10 31_6942 2014 10 31_6943 2014 10 31_6944 2014 10 31_6945 2014 10 31_6946 2014 10 31_6947 2014 10 31_6948


Before I finish part two of my Harlow Carr posts I thought I would show you these two photos showing two true stars! A generously flowering Aster and a brightly coloured Ladybird in search of a safe winter hibernation spot.

2014 10 31_6915 2014 10 31_6917

architecture buildings Yorkshire

Saltaire – a unique village – Part Two

So here we are suitably refreshed with part two of my postings about the village of Saltaire. We are carrying on with our wander after a well-earned coffee stop. The staff were so friendly and so cheerful, which seems typical of everyone we met in the village. People enjoyed a chat and offered a smile!

We left our tour of Saltaire previously in Alexandra Square where we found the almhouses.

2014 10 30_6738 2014 10 30_6739

Now we set off in search of the social and community buildings proved by Titus Salt and soon found ourselves studying the impressive building which housed the hospital. Medical care was provided for the Saltaire mill workers way in advance of the idea of the National Health Service. Elsewhere medical care was the province of the rich.

2014 10 30_6740 2014 10 30_6741 2014 10 30_6742 2014 10 30_6743 2014 10 30_6744 2014 10 30_6746

Further up Victoria Road we discovered the institute building which afforded the mill workers opportunities for adult education and socialising. It contained a library, lecture hall, gymnasium and games room, another example of how forward thinking Titus Salt was. On each corner of the wall surrounding the front lawn and entrance to the institute we found 4 lions, one on each corner each with very different expressions.

2014 10 30_6752 2014 10 30_67542014 10 30_6749 2014 10 30_67552014 10 30_6753 2014 10 30_6756


Directly opposite the institute is where the youngsters were educated, the school. It is an impressive building which reflected the importance and emphasis Salt placed on education This was at a time when the mills relied on cheap child labour to boost the work force, but a law was in force to control their working hours.

2014 10 30_6750 2014 10 30_6751


If you cast your mind back to the end of part one, you will remember that Salt had provided allotments for his workers. The first picture below shows part of this community garden. Close by recently created miniature raised beds perform the same function.

2014 10 30_6763 2014 10 30_67622014 10 30_6759 2014 10 30_6760

After enjoying these little productive plots we began making our way back to the mill and the canal and the river Aire that run alongside it. We wanted to look around the park on the far side of the canal. On our way we were delighted to see a contemporary tribute to Titus Salt, “Titus Teas”.


2014 10 30_6761

The park is a large open green space away from the mill and the village where Salt’s workers would have had the opportunity to appreciate the space and the freedom to wander. The contrast to work must have been so powerful! Every opportunity to add colour has been taken here, even on the metalwork of the seats and bandstand.

2014 10 30_6764 2014 10 30_6765 2014 10 30_6766 2014 10 30_6768 2014 10 30_6770 2014 10 30_6771 2014 10 30_6772 2014 10 30_6773

2014 10 30_6774 2014 10 30_6778

2014 10 30_6775 2014 10 30_6776

The cricket pitch with its pavilion must have been a real luxury. This is still used today and has been modernised through the addition of an electronic score-board. It was so good to see the thoughts and works of Titus salt still having a meaning in today’s world. The park he created was busy with families and groups of youngsters enjoying the freedom it gives.

Salt was years ahead of his time. His philanthropy pre-empted the things we take for granted today, those things that make our lives more pleasant, such as the health service and pensions. It was a privilege to walk through his model village, to see what he achieved and imagine what it meant to his workers.

2014 10 30_6779 2014 10 30_6780 2014 10 30_6777

architecture buildings model villages townscapes Yorkshire

Saltaire – a unique village – Part One

Saltaire is a place with a special atmosphere and a special place in British history, but also a place which very few people have ever heard of. We visited last year but then because of time and terribly wet weather we did not have time to look around the village itself. At that time we spent the day exploring the Salts gallery, where you can see so many pieces of art work from David Hockney, as well as galleries of furniture and beautiful craftwork.

Saltaire is a World Heritage Site and is recognised for the part it played in the development of the society we live in today. When you visit it is hard to believe it was the creation of one man, Titus Salt, a true visionary. He began as a successful business man, indeed one of England’s most eminent Victorian industrialists. He began by building a mill where he aimed to produce the finest wool fabrics utilising the most efficient methods available at the time.

2014 10 30_6765 2014 10 30_67622014 10 30_6732

What made Salt stand “head and shoulders” above his contemporaries was his desire to provide his workers with the healthiest working conditions possible. coupled with this was his ambition to provide his workers and their families with social and community benefits virtually unknown during this period of British social history. We discovered how he achieved this as we explored the “model village” of Saltaire.

It was great to arrive again at Saltaire with the weather slightly better than on our last visit. Dull, overcast but not raining! So follow in our footsteps along the cobbled streets as Jude the Undergardener negotiates the town trail leaflet which took us down into Albert Terrace.

2014 10 30_6708 2014 10 30_6707

We turned into William Henry Street where we noticed a variety of styles and sizes of house, from the smallest terraces with no front garden to three story town houses and larger semi-detached homes with gardens. This reflected the status and responsibilities of the tenant. Every street in Saltaire is wide enough to ensure natural light for every home. The three story buildings comprised shared lodgings for single workers whereas those adjoining with a small front garden were homes to the factory foremen.

2014 10 30_6710 2014 10 30_6711 2014 10 30_6712

In Caroline Street the front door of every house opens directly onto the street showing that these tenants were the lowliest workers. The back lanes between the rear yards of these terraces, which once would have been home to the washing lines and ash cans have become the habitat of the wheelie-bin.

2014 10 30_6713 2014 10 30_6719

When we turned the corner into Albert Road we noticed a distinct change. The houses here were larger, grander residences and all semi-detached. These were home to company executives, teachers and the church minister. These would have been built  on the outer boundary to ensure their tenants had a view of open countryside as befitting their status at that time. Open spaces throughout were left for small squares and gardens for communal use. The bunting hanging in the trees shows that this still holds true today.

2014 10 30_6717 2014 10 30_6716

All homes whatever the status of the tenant had better conditions than anywhere else in the country at that period. Every house had running water, gas lights, a yard and an outside toilet. There must have been a great sense of pride here. The alternative conditions which most of their contemporaries endured would have been a different world. Salt had moved his factories and his workforce out of Bradford which was then the fastest growing town in the UK. The mill workers of Northern mill towns such as Bradford would have suffered terrible, dirty, dangerous working conditions and slums as homes. Working conditions would still have been difficult and the hours long but Salt was a philanthropic employer.

2014 10 30_6722 2014 10 30_6726

2014 10 30_6715 2014 10 30_67232014 10 30_6727 2014 10 30_6730 2014 10 30_6731

One of Titus Salt’s most thoughtful and forward thinking ideas was the provision of almhouses, which we found situated around Alexandra Square. These were homes for elderly and infirm persons “of good moral character”. The inhabitants of the almhouses were also given a pension, all this 40 years before the first state pension. The buildings themselves were very decorative and overlooked an open area of garden.

2014 10 30_6733 2014 10 30_6734 2014 10 30_6735 2014 10 30_6736

We were by this time well in need of a lunch break so made our way to the small area of shops and cafes in the centre. In part two you will find us in search of the social and community buildings, of which Titus Salt provided many. I leave you with another view of the mill with the allotments in the foreground. Salt ensured that there were green areas between the mill and his workers’ homes. The green spaces around the church served the same purpose.

2014 10 30_6705 2014 10 30_6703


Sadly someone left Saltaire less happy than we were – they went home with only one glove!

2014 10 30_6704