Friday, 14 March 2014

Garden visit: RHS Harlow Carr (photo essay)

It's probably not the best way to start a blogpost, being negative, but here I go... When I visited RHS Harlow Carr several years ago (possibly more than 10 years ago), I remember coming away disappointed. It was mid-April and apart from some bulbs flowering, nothing much appeared to be going on and I left wondering why it was a RHS flagship garden.

My latest visit evoked a completely different response - I loved it. They have obviously done a lot of work during the intervening years and the garden is now most definitely worth visiting. There are many different areas to explore in the gardens, from the Winter Walk, Gardens Through Time and the Kitchen Garden, to the Alpine Zone, Woodland and Scent Garden. I couldn't visit it all parts of the garden (due to the lack of energy because of ME), so this post focuses mainly on the Alpine Zone, with a short visit to other areas.

Alpine Zone
Alpine plants are proof that wonderful delights come in small packages. Here are just some of the Alpines that gave much pleasure. First up, the Hepaticas, to which I'm beginning to develop an addiction.

Hepatica japonica hatsune - my favourite flower of the day

Hepatica nobilis 'Cobalt'

Hepatica x media ballardii

And the following also caught my eye...

Saxifraga x biasoletloi Geoff Wilson

Pinus sylvestris 'LDS8'

Crocus Kosaninii

Draba 'Buttermilk'

Primula 'Masie Michael' - my other favourite of the day

Olsynium douglasii var grandiflora

A wasp also liked Fritillaria crassifolia ssp kurdica

And an unusual flower, that also proved difficult to photograph:

Gethyum atropurpureum
Some collections of alpines...

Using old roof slates to help make an alpine display


Other areas
In other areas of the garden I enjoyed the Winter Walk:

Wonderful colours, and I love the twists & turns of the tree

The witch hazel was still giving off a lovely perfume

The woodland area near the bath house:


A most amusing leaf mould cage:


The poshest ever water butt?


The heather beds:

And I guess there is still some Australian in me: this is what a gum tree is meant to look like, tall and shimmering against a clear blue sky.


And lastly, the curved Yew mounds surrounding Betula utilis jacquemontii near the entrance, which made me laugh (the Yew mounds are so cute!) and contrast well together.


The garden welcomes people to bring their own picnics, which I think I'll do next time. The food in Betty's Cafe is very good once you do get a table, but the long lines and waiting wasn't! Aside from that quibble, I look forward to returning to the garden to explore it further on another day. From what I did see, RHS Harlow Carr is definitely worth visiting.

As I close this post, do indulge me in my return to my favourite flower of the day, Hepatica japonica hatsune, viewing it in a different light.



2 comments :

  1. So glad you enjoyed your second visit to Harlow Carr, we have only been once a few years ago when on our way to Scotland. It must have been June time, we had gone specially to see the candelabra primulas along the side of the stream, and we weren't disappointed, they were fantastic. I too liked the alpine house with all the dainty plants flowering away, everywhere was so neat and tidy, not a leaf out of place! Thanks for bringing back happy memories.

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  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed your second visit to Harlow Carr. We called in a few years ago on our way to Scotland. We had called in to see the candelabra primulas beside the stream, they were fantastic and I came home so inspired! The Alpine House is so beautiful, everything is so pristine, not a leaf out of place!

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