Some memories from our trip to the Gardens of Harrowgate and North Yorkshire, July 2013

On Monday July 1st,  31 intrepid travellers set sail from Dublin Docks along with our driver Nigel and our beautiful coach for Holyhead. When we arrived we headed for Dove Cottage Nursery Garden where we purchased a few bits and pieces. Poor Nigel! We then proceed to the Rippon Spa Hotel, without the Spa, where we had a lovely meal and met up with Sophie from Boxwood tours who was to be with us for the next few days.
The next day we visited two fantastic gardens Harlow Carr and Newby Hall,  and we also had some free time in Harrogate to visit  Bettys tea rooms which is world famous. Both of these gardens were stunning. Very hard to choose one over the other. I suppose I enjoyed Newby Hall most because of its double herbaceous borders and its beautiful Sylvies Garden.
On Wednesday we had a very different experience in that we visited some private gardens. The first was Stillingfleet Nursery and Garden where we met a very entertaining Lady Vanessa. We hope that she will come to our club some time next year. After that we went to Wixley where we met Biddy Marshall and her husband. We had the most wonderful lunch there and then we went to Ash Tree House and finished up in the wonderful Kelberdale Garden in Knaresborough. All stunning gardens.
On Thursday, after visiting Rippon Cathedral we went to Scampston Hall where we were met by Lady Legard. We had a wonderful day there experiencing all the different gardens and the beautiful silent garden which was so different.  After that we went to Jacksons Wold, where the scenery was breath taking. But for me, the jewel in the crown was Castle Howard. Here there was something for everybody, from the house itself, where “Brideshead Revisited” had been filmed, to the chapel which is still being used, to the acres of grounds and wonderful water features. The rose garden was stunning, and I have never seen such wonderful delphiniums. Needless to say there were wonderful plants for sale and as Sophie remarked our coach resembled Chelsea Flower Show. Our final day was spent travelling and watching Wimbledon on the ship. What more could we ask for?
Our special thanks to Angela, Lucille and all the committee who worked so hard to make this a truly memorable trip to celebrate 25 years of our wonderful club.
Ursula Larkin