New shoots

Visited RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate today (with Mum) and joined the organisation (membership was an early birthday present from Dee). We had a totally brilliant day in the sunshine while Dee was having an equally brilliant but somewhat different time on a patisserie course in the Betty’s of Harrogate teaching kitchens.Mum at Harlow Carr
Harlow Carr was not the first RHS garden I’ve been to (I once went to Wisley with Aileen when Christine was in a pushchair) and I’ve been to quite a few formal and less formal gardens over the years, but I did find myself looking at the garden as a garden with new eyes, slightly wider and more piercing perhaps.
I was particularly struck by the large patches of colour especially echinacea, bergamot and the colour planting – purple with orange (coleus), blue with pink.
BergamotComplementary colours
I loved the vegetable garden and was interested in the companion planting of vegetables and flowers (there was no evidence of pests even on the brassicas, they must be doing something to stop caterpillars). There were lots of insects, and the place was humming with bees (but few birds).
We had a grand time in the new alpine house Alpine House (loved the Alpines because of past Swiss experiences, and also the appeal of the tiny, delicate but so strong flowers). The wild meadow garden was absolutely full of poppies. Herbaceous border
The vegetable garden was made up of small manageable raised beds planted in lines, diagonals, horizontal and verticals. There seemed to be bits of this and that (but there may have been method in it of course).
There were fabulous onions and lots of different courgettes and squashes.
I found that the colours of the Harlow Carr garden seemed even more particularly pleasing on the eye in retrospect in contrast with the bright garish almost vulgar planting in the municipal garden we walked through on the way back, where the brightness seemed artificial.
I came away wanting to know about garden history – what the Victorians developed, when the lawnmower arrived (and the means of transporting plants from around the world). What Regency means in gardening terms, the influence of Mondrian, Luytgens…
I remember a happy afternoon in the botanical garden in Oxford learning about Linnaus and the classification of plants – and why it’s important to use Latin terms (one reason being there are so many popular names for the same plant).
Had a really lovely day in the sunshine. Not the main reason why I am thinking seriously about doing a horticulture course, but it helps.

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