Helmsley Walled Garden near York welcomes autumn's arrival after crisis lockdown months

Autumn’s arrival has been a blessing for Helmsley Walled Garden, where a bountiful harvest is providing succour for an attraction that nearly had to close for the final time.

June Tainsh, garden manager at the Helmsley Walled Garden, presses apples in the glasshouse. Picture: Tony Johnson

The orchards, wildflower meadows and community allotments near York have this year produced more than 90 varieties of apple from over 100 trees for visitors to explore.

It comes after some £50,000 was raised to keep the site open following the coronavirus outbreak, leaving staff “tremendously thrilled and a bit overwhelmed by the generosity of people at a very difficult time,” said assistant garden manager Tricia Harris.

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Next, the attraction is staying open in the run-up to Christmas - on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between November 5 and December 19 - in a change from previous years.

Tricia Harris, assistant garden manager, with the dahlias at the Helmsley Walled Garden. Picture: Tony Johnson.

Visitors may need to be quick to see the last of the apples, but other fascinating sights are on offer too.

Ms Harris said: “One of the big things is the dahlias because they’re great for late colour.

“We’ve got a really good display around our dipping pond. There is also the last of the apples.”

The many varieties the attraction has been displaying include those from Yorkshire, and those boasting peculiar names such as the Dog’s Snout, and Api, a tiny golden variety which came from France in the 13th century.

Ms Harris added: “We grow trees in lots of different forms to show people you don’t need to have lots of room to grow apple trees, if that’s what you want to do.”