If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, you will know that I recently headed up north to Yorkshire for a mini-break away. Taking time to visit family, RHS Harlow Carr and finally meet Dave who hosts my monthly radio show on Drystone Radio.
Visting Drystone Towers and actually doing the show in the studio for the first time was fantastic. Not forgetting that instead of doing my usual time slot, we extended my piece to the full two hours!! Celebrating the 2nd birthday of Life at No.27 and the launch of Monty Don’s new book. You can catch up on playback here.
Back to the reason for this blog…..RHS Harlow Carr…..what a place?!
It was love at first sight! I only believe in this being possible when it comes to gardens….and maybe cake, but definitely gardens.
I arrived and straight away I was thrown a dilemma, which door to pick….the main entrance, the gift shop or Bettys Tea Room. For someone with only two obsessions, gardening and cake, this wasn’t easy! I surprised myself and went with the sensible option of visiting the garden first, that way I have earned my Fat Rascal surprise, surely?!
When I mentioned on Twitter that I was heading to RHS Harlow Carr, all everyone said was that I needed to have a proper cup of tea and a Fat Rascal at Bettys. I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about, but as soon as I arrived I was itching to find out what on earth this famous cake was! I will tell you now….it puts a smile on your face and is really tasty! Make sure you try one if you haven’t already.
Cake averted for now, I headed to the entrance and made my way down the steps off on an adventure. The first thing I saw will stay one of my absolute favourite things about Harlow Carr…these beauties!!
Modern, quirky and oh so much fun…I loved them, they still bring a smile to my face now. Go on do it, you know you want to…get your old boots, paint on a pretty pattern or outlandish design then fill them up with your favourite plants! Even better, take a photo and post it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, tagging myself and RHS so we can see your creations.
Once I managed to take my eyes off the boots, I headed straight through the middle of the gardens and right along the Streamside. There is so much to see in every step so if you visit, slow down the pace and take it all in. Including the Sculpture Trail which is currently running until the end of October; where one of my favourite designs was the fairy garden.
I made a wish and continued my walk towards the Old Bath House, stopping inside for a few minutes to explore the current Wood Showcase. I just about resisted getting my purse out, but only until I was outside and Bettys Tea Room was in front of me. It was time for a lunch break.
Full of hot chocolate and a sausage roll, I was back on my feet, back past the Old Bath House and the Children’s Play Area. If you have children they would love it, I assure you! It’s the perfect day out for all during the half term holidays.
My eyes though were immediately drawn to Betsy the Bee, you can’t miss her. According to her sign, she is only 6 weeks old, loves to do chores for the hive and can’t resist a good dance to communicate with her family. A true stunner!
I just about managed to get back on to the main path without slipping over in the mud and headed towards the other side of the garden via the Woodland Walk. Autumn has to be my favourite season, it’s rubbish for growing your own, but otherwise it’s the best. The Woodland Walk proved just why, it’s the colours, the vibrant reds and burnt oranges but still with dashes of vivid green in between.
Out the other side of the Woodland Walk and I arrived at the QM Lake, it’s a vision worth admiring! I stayed for a few minutes before moving on with an excited skip in my step as I knew the Teaching Garden with it’s own allotment style area was just around the corner.
How do I sign up RHS?! The Teaching Garden filled me with serious envy, it’s incredible. I like to think of No.27 as a true gem but with a couple of scuffs around the edges, plus a few more. There is no scuffs or weeds here though, that’s for sure. What it does have, is loads of ideas you can take home; different climbing structures, flower and veg combos and a true insight in to how you really don’t need much space at all to GYO. Not forgetting a greenhouse to die for!
That isn’t the only incredible greenhouse either, there is another one which will really make you drool and run to the shop for a lottery ticket. Quickly skip past Bettys Café, the gift shop and the main borders without stopping and on the other side there is the Kitchen Garden. Where every ‘allotmenteers’ dreams come true!
Need I say more……..
I don’t know where I would put it, but Santa, pretty please!!!
The sun suddenly decided to do a vanishing act as I left the greenhouse to explore so I absorbed all the sights I could before the rain started and headed for Bettys Café. Cuppa and Fat Rascal, I’m coming for you!!
I had been waiting all day and it was so worth it. A chance to sit down, put my camera, phone and bag to the side and just take in the day before leaving.
I can’t recommend that you visit RHS Harlow Carr enough, it really is a treat worth the travelling time. Go by yourself like I did or take family, either way, you will love it.
I may be heading to another RHS Garden very soon, so keep an eye out but I will say no more on that note and leave you with one last picture….
If you don’t want to know what a Fat Rascal is and want the surprise like me….DO NOT SCROLL DOWN!