It’s open season, when private gardens throughout the country raise millions of pounds (via through the National Gardens Scheme) for a host of charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support.
During 2014, Yorkshire’s open gardens raised more than £125,000 of the £2.5m-plus generated countrywide.
The season starts with a trickle as one or two gardens brave the butt end of winter. Snowdrops and early spring bulbs are the mainstays at this time of year, but as Nature begins to get into her stride, weekends become packed with the chance to visit gardens great and small.
Nationwide, almost 4,000 gardens plan to open this year; in Yorkshire, there are more than 110 gardens open, and all are listed in a booklet, Yorkshire Gardens 2015, which gives all the details.
Many gardens will open on a day especially for the National Gardens Scheme; others can be visited only by prior arrangement.
Old favourites such as the delightful Acorn Cottage, at Boston Spa, Jackson’s Wold (near Malton), Dove Cottage Nursery Garden (Halifax) and Stillingfleet Lodge (near York) all show how to arrange planting throughout the year. And some even offer a wide range of plants for sale.
As usual, there are several gardens opening for the first time under the auspices of the NGS, including The Manor House, in Main Street, Heslington, York, the home of renowned flower-arranger, George Smith. This three-acre garden reflects his painterly style of planting. Sub-divided by mellow walls it abounds with many colour-themed features, including herbaceous perennials, especially hostas and ferns.
On a smaller scale is Whyncrest, on Bridlington Road, Hunmanby, Filey, where Lieke Swann has created an elevated garden with views across Filey Bay.
The garden has been carefully designed, creating climate “rooms” taking visitors from jungle garden to a pond garden with tropical planting and a huge waterfall, herbaceous borders and topiary shrubs.
The collection of plants gives year-round interest from bulbs in spring all the way through to late autumn. For more details, visit www.ngs.org.uk