May has been a beautiful month this year and the gardens are proof of this – even my own small one is looking good and my friend’s unusual, sloping garden is glorious.
|Double Poppies in Friend's Garden|
|Steep Rockery above the Poppies|
Several estates offer wonderful guided tours by Head Gardeners whose knowledge is breathtaking and makes all the difference to a visit.
The Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park is half an hour’s ride from Ripon in Yorkshire. As its name implies there are steep paths (some with welcome handrails) amongst the most magnificent collection of Rhododendrons ever imagined and leading to the lower gardens with lakes and very realistic sculptures.
|Steep Paths at Himalayan Gardens|
|Rhododendrons in full Bloom|
|Sculpture of a Swift.|
In April there was a Tulip Festival near Leyburn. Again a treat for anybody who enjoys colour in their garden. Tulips, tall and short, mixed colours or plain and varieties that could never have been imagined. Again a guided tour, this time by a man who was expert at planting woods as well as growing tulips.
|One of the Tulip Beds|
And last weekend Raby Castle gardens at Staindrop were open to the public. No matter how familiar they have become there’s always something to appreciate. This time it was the Cat Mint in great swathes of colour. No photographs available but its well worth a visit.