Open Gardens September 2019

This is a list of open gardens within a 50 mile radius of Leeds. Click on the link to open the page on the NGS website (in new window), for details of opening times etc.

1 September:

Bramble Croft, Keighley

East Meets West, Sutton-In-Ashfield

Hall Farm, Gainsborough

Hillside, York

Oak Barn Exotic Garden, Newark

The Old Vicarage, Matlock

Spring Bank House, Sutton-in-Ashfield

Stanhill Exotic Garden, Accrington


3 September:

Renishaw Hall & Gardens, Sheffield


7 September:

Lane End Cottage Gardens, Lymm


8 September:

Weeping Ash Garden, Glazebury


12 September:

The Priory, Nun Monkton, York


15 September:

Stillingfleet Lodge, York


19 September:

9 Newfield Crescent, Sheffield


And last but not least as winter beckons:

20 October:

Weeping Ash Garden, Glazebury


Open Gardens August 2019

This is a list of open gardens within a 50 mile radius of Leeds. Click on the link to open the page on the NGS website (in new window), for details of opening times etc.

3 August:

Lower Dutton Farm, Ribchester

21 Scafell Close, Stockport


4 August:

Bramblewood Cottage, Sheffield

19 Cumberland Avenue, Leyland

Fell Yeat, Kirkby Lonsdale

73 Hill Top Avenue, Stockport


7 August:

The Grange, Skipton


10 August:

The Growth Project, Rochdale

Laskey Farm, Warrington

Middleton Hall Retirement Village, Darlington


11 August:

Hollies Farm Plant Centre, Matlock

Plant World, Preston

Sleightholmedale Lodge, Fadmoor


18 August:

Cascades Gardens, Matlock

Dove Cottage Nursery Garden, nr Halifax

Great Cliff Exotic Garden, Wakefield

45 Grey Heights View, Chorley

Inner Lodge, Gainsborough

The Lilies, Matlock

Weeping Ash Garden, Glazebury


25 August:

Fernleigh, Sheffield

Highfield Cottage, Driffield

Pilmoor Cottages, nr Helperby

12 Water Lane, Matlock


26 August:

The Ridges, Chorley


31 August:

Hillside, York

The Old Vicarage, Matlock

Stanhill Exotic Garden, Accrington

Open Gardens July 2019

This is a list of open gardens within a 50 mile radius of Leeds. Click on the link to open the page on the NGS website (in new window), for details of opening times etc.

3 July:

Brookfield, Keighley

Land Farm, Hebden Bridge

Parcevall Hall Gardens, Skipton

Rhubarb Farm, Mansfield


6 July:

Barlborough Gardens, Chesterfield

Goose Cottage, Derbyshire

The Hollies, Chesterfield

Lindway, Derbyshire

New Mills School, High Peak

Otterwood, Buxton

Raiswells House, Chesterfield

The Smithy, Buxton

Smithy House, Chesterfield

Sue Proctor Plants Nursery Garden, Huddersfield

Woodside House, Derbyshire


7 July:

Clearbeck House, Higher Tatham via Lancaster

Honey Head, Holmfirth

Hutton Gardens, Preston

107 Liverpool Road, Preston

Lodge Mount, Retford

Mayfield, Newark

Millgate House, Richmond

Moorfields, Chesterfield

Parkers Lodge, Bury

4 Potter Lane, Newark

Primrose Bank Garden and Nursery, York

The Priory, Nun Monkton, York

Tithe Barn, Newark

1 Tolsey Drive, Preston

2 Tolsey Drive, Preston

5 Tolsey Drive, Preston

10 Tolsey Drive, Preston

13 Tolsey Drive, Preston

Wellow Village Gardens, Newark


9 July:

Renishaw Hall & Gardens, Sheffield


10 July:

The Grange, Skipton


13 July:

9 Anson Grove, North Yorkshire

249 Barnsley Road, Wakefield

Cawood Gardens, nr Selby

Clumber Park Walled Kitchen Garden, Worksop

21 Great Close, North Yorkshire

2 Haddon View, Matlock

Hare Hatch Cottage, Matlock

108 Macclesfield Road, High Peak

The Pigeoncote, North Yorkshire

Stanton in Peak Gardens, Matlock

Woodend Cottage, Matlock


14 July:

Bramblewood Cottage, Sheffield

19 Fir Street, Sheffield

45 Grey Heights View, Chorley

Inner Lodge, Gainsborough

The Manor House, Thirsk

The Nursery, York

Sheffield Gardens, Sheffield

68 Tasker Road, Sheffield

23 The Paddock, Cottingham

27 Wash Green, Matlock


20 July:

Freeman Biodynamic Garden, Sheffield


21 July:

Ballygarth, Scunthorpe

Cascades Gardens, Matlock

Cow Close Cottage, Harrogate

Dove Cottage Nursery Garden, nr Halifax

East Wing, Newton Kyme Hall, nr Boston Spa

Goldsborough Hall, Goldsborough

Hollies Farm Plant Centre, Matlock

Holmefield, Buxton

Kiplin Hall, Richmond

Maggie’s Manchester, Manchester

Newfields Farm, Buxton

The Paddock, Chesterfield

Southlands, Stretford

Wigan & Leigh Hospice, Wigan


27 July:

Byways, Chesterfield

Keeper’s Cottage, Dronfield


28 July:

Fernleigh, Sheffield

Greencroft, Ripon

Littlethorpe Gardens, Ripon

Littlethorpe House, Ripon

Moss Park Allotments, Manchester

Rewela Cottage, Skewsby

Wild in the Country, Hope Valley


The Magic of Plants Conference 4 May 2019

Images from Jimi Blake’s talk ‘Hunting Brook through the Seasons’

Images courtesy of Peter Williams; please note the quality of screen shot images is variable because of the conditions.

Jimi Blake’s Plant List can be downloaded here.

A full report of the conference and more images will follow shortly.

Open Gardens June 2019

This is a list of open gardens within a 50 mile radius of Leeds. Click on the link to open the page on the NGS website (in new window), for details of opening times etc.

1 June:

The Echium Garden, Newark

The Grange, Harrogate

The Holly Tree, Matlock

Old Sleningford Hall, nr Ripon

The Old Vicarage, Manchester

Peover Hall Gardens, Knutsford


2 June:

Broadlea, Retford

Brookfield, Keighley

Fernleigh, Sheffield

Fir Croft, Calver

Highfield House, Alfreton

Maggie’s Oldham, Oldham

Neasham Abbey, Near Darlington

Norton Conyers, Ripon

The Secret Valley, Manchester

Walton Cottage, Chesterfield

The Yorkshire Arboretum, York


5 June:

Sleightholmedale Lodge, Fadmoor


6 June:

Skipwith Hall, Selby

The Smithy, Buxton


7 June:

Shandy Hall Gardens, Coxwold


8 June:

Drake Carr, Higher Disley, Cheshire

Lane End Cottage Gardens, Lymm

Linden Lodge, York


9 June:

68 Brooklawn Drive, Lancashire

Clifton Castle, Ripon

Cobble Cottage, Yorkshire

Didsbury Village Gardens, Manchester

3 The Drive, Manchester

45 Grey Heights View, Chorley

Hollies Farm Plant Centre, Matlock

Inner Lodge, Gainsborough

Manor Farm, Barton-upon-Humber

Moor Cottage, Manchester

The Old Vicarage, Whixley

The Orchard, Leeds

Primrose Cottage, Doncaster

Scape Lodge, Huddersfield

Springfield, Barton-Upon-Humber

Sycamore Cottage, Manchester

West Drive Gardens, Cheadle

White Wynn, York

Whixley Gardens, York

38 Willoughby Avenue, Lancashire


12 June:

Tatton Park, Knutsford


14 June:

Holmfield, Fridaythorpe

Markenfield Hall, Ripon


15 June:

Ashmead, Macclesfield

Giles Farm, Preston

Holme Grange, Bakewell

Mill Barn, Preston


16 June:

Bramblewood Cottage, Sheffield

Cascades Gardens, Matlock

Dove Cottage Nursery Garden, nr Halifax

East Meets West, Sutton-In-Ashfield

60 Kennedy Avenue, Macclesfield

Midendale, Goole

Spring Bank House, Sutton-in-Ashfield

Willow Cottage, York

Winterbottom House, Knutsford


21 June:

330 Old Road, Chesterfield


22 June:

12 Ansell Road, Sheffield

5 Crib Lane, Oldham

Dale House Gardens, Preston

35 Ellesmere Road, Manchester

18 Highfield Road, Macclesfield

11 Platt Lane, Oldham

11 Westminster Road, Manchester

Winthrop Gardens, Rotherham


23 June:

Birstwith Hall, Harrogate

61 Birtles Road, Macclesfield

3 Embankment Road, Sheffield

Greenwell Cottage, Worksop

Hall Farm, Gainsborough

Hidden Gardens of Croft Road, Darlington

Hill Cottage, Ashover nr Chesterfield

The Homestead, Knutsford

Jackson’s Wold, Malton

4 Manor Farm Court, Worksop

5 Manor Farm Court, Worksop

Nags Head Farm, County Durham

New Cottage, Darlington

Orchard Bungalow, Worksop

Orchard Gardens, Darlington

Oxney Cottage, Darlington

Oxney Flatts Farm, Darlington

Red Walls, Worksop

Ridgefield Cottage & Nursery, Knaresborough

15 Scotland Street, Worksop

17 South View, Worksop

The Stables, Worksop

Tythe Farm House, Driffield

Whitwell Open Gardens, Worksop


26 June:

Bramble Croft, Keighley

Cliff House, Keighley

24 Dimples Lane, Keighley

East Morton Gardens, Keighley


28 June:

34 Dover Road, Sheffield

Dutton Hall, Ribchester


29 June:

Beechwood Cottage, Lymm

Elm Tree Farm, Worksop

Elmton Gardens, Worksop

Jack Green Cottage, Chorley

Pear Tree Cottage, Worksop

Pinfold, Nottingham

10 Statham Avenue, Lymm


30 June:

Bollin House, Wilmslow

Bugthorpe Gardens, York

72 Church Street, Sheffield

3 Church Walk, York

Clearbeck House, Higher Tatham via Lancaster

Daneswell House, Stamford Bridge

East Markham Gardens, Newark

Havoc Hall, York

High Roost, Glossop

Hilltop, Prestbury

2 Hollin Close, nr Doncaster

The Lilies, Matlock

The Manor, Newark

Millgate House, Richmond

Norwood Cottage, Newark

Oak Barn Exotic Garden, Newark

The Old Rectory, Yorkshire

Springfield House, Newark


Open Gardens May 2019

This is a list of open gardens within a 50 mile radius of Leeds. Click on the link to open the page on the NGS website (in new window), for details of opening times etc.

5 May:

12 Ansell Road, Sheffield

Cascades Gardens, Matlock

Highfield Cottage, Driffield

RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate

12 Water Lane, Matlock


6 May:

Cobble Cottage, York

The Old Vicarage, Whixley

The Ridges, Chorley

Whixley Gardens, York

8 May:

Well House, Grafton


11 May:

Brooke Cottage, Handforth

64 Carr Wood, Altrincham


12 May:

Jackson’s Wold, Malton

Low Hall, Nidderdale

Scape Lodge, Huddersfield

122 Sheffield Road, Glossop

Stillingfleet Lodge, York

Warley House Garden, Halifax

27 Wash Green, Matlock

Woodlands Cottage, Harrogate

15 May:

Tatton Park, Knutsford

16 May:

Cantley Hall, Doncaster

9 Newfield Crescent, Sheffield

18 May:

Matshead Lodge, Preston

19 May:

Barnville, Nr Pickering

Fir Croft, Calver

Millrace Garden, Leeds

20 May:

Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park, Ripon

21 May:

Thornbridge Hall Gardens, Ashford in the Water, Derbyshire

22 May:

Land Farm, Hebden Bridge

25 May:

Cheriton, Alderley Edge

The Red House, Doncaster

10 Statham Avenue, Lymm

Tamarind, Doncaster


26 May:

Beacon Garth, Hull

Bramblewood Cottage, Sheffield

Clearbeck House, Higher Tatham via Lancaster

Creskeld Hall, Leeds

Croft Hall, Croft-on-Tees

Fell Yeat, Kirkby Lonsdale

Higher Crossings, High Peak, Derbyshire

73 Hill Top Avenue, Stockport

115 Millhouses Lane, Sheffield

Parkers Lodge, Bury

Penny Piece Cottages, York

Rewela Cottage, Skewsby

Rosemary Cottage, Goole

113 Southfield, Hessle

27 May:

Barlborough Gardens, Chesterfield

Bridge Farm House, Selby

The Hollies, Chesterfield

Holmes Villa, Gainsborough

Lindway, Derbyshire

Plant of the Month March 2019: Chaenomeles

Chaenomeles are members of the Rosaceae family. They are native to Japan, Korea, China, Bhutan, and Burma. These plants are related to the quince (Cydonia oblonga) and the Chinese quince (Pseudocydonia sinensis). The word chaenomeles comes from the Greek chaino melon meaning ‘gaping apple’; the fruit are both decorative and edible once cooked. Raw fruit are extremely astringent. The fruit is very high in vitamin C and pectin so is ideal for making preserves; the word marmalade comes from the Portuguese word for quince, marmelo.

Although all quince species have flowers, gardeners often refer to these species as ‘flowering quince’, since Chaenomeles are grown ornamentally for their flowers, not for their fruits. These plants have also been called ‘Japanese quince’, and the name ‘japonica’ (referring to C. japonica) was widely used for these plants in the 19th and 20th centuries, although this common name is not particularly distinctive, since ‘japonica’ is a specific epithet shared by many other plants. 

Joseph Banks introduced the shrub as Pyrus japonica now known as Chaenomeles speciosa at the end of the 18th century. It was a native of China but had been cultivated for years in Japan. 

Chaenomeles japonica was introduced a century later. It grew wild in Japan and was introduced to this country by a Bristol nursery, W Maule & Son. It is small and suckering, less useful in the garden than the descendants of C. speciosa; it has scarlet flowers that are followed by very pretty round, scented, orange fruit. 

There are three species within the genus; the Chinese C. cathayensis, the Japanese C. japonica and C. speciosa which is found in China and Korea. C. cathayensis is native to western China and has the largest fruit of the genus, pear-shaped, 10–15 cm long and 6–9 cm wide. The flowers are usually white or pink. The leaves are 7–14 cm long. C. japonica (Maule’s quince or Japanese quince) is native to Japan, and has small fruit, apple-shaped, 3–4 cm in diameter. The flowers are usually red but can be white or pink. The leaves are 3–5 cm long. C. speciosa (Chinese flowering quince; syn. C. laganaria, Cydonia lagenaria, Cydonia speciosa, Pyrus japonica) is native to China and Korea, and has hard green apple-shaped fruit 5–6 cm in diameter. 

There are four main hybrids available and many cultivars. The most common C. × superba is a hybrid of C. speciosa × C. japonica, while C. × vilmoriniana is a hybrid of C. speciosa × C. cathayensis, and C. × clarkiana is a hybrid of C. japonica × C. cathayensis. The hybrid C. × californica is a tri-species hybrid (C. × superba × C. cathayensis). The most commonly cultivated Chaenomeles referred to as ‘japonica’ are actually the hybrids C. × superba and C. speciosa; C. japonica itself is not as commonly grown. 

Numerous named cultivars of all of these hybrids are available and have become popular ornamental shrubs in parts of Europe and North America, grown both for their bright flowers and as a spiny barrier. The flowers are 3–4.5 cm diameter, with five petals; the range in flower colour is from white through pink and apricot to red and scarlet and come in single, double and semi-double forms. Flowering is in late winter or early spring. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple, and have a serrated margin. The fruit is a pome with five carpels; it ripens in late autumn. Some cultivars grow up to 2 m tall, but others are much smaller and creeping.

C. speciosa‘Moerloosei’ AGM, is sometimes called ‘Apple Blossom’. It has large white flowers that are coral pink in bud, and they open a couple of months sooner than any apple tree. C. speciosa ‘Nivalis’ has pure white flowers best seen against a dark hedge or a brick wall. Both of these are large. On a wall they will reach 2m quite quickly and in the open they make big spreading bushes. C. speciosa ‘Geisha Girl’ (d) AGM has semi-double salmon-pink flowers, and forms a dwarf shrub. C. speciosa‘Simonii’ (d) has blood red, semi-double flowers with a dwarf spreading habit.

The hybrids between C. speciosa and C. japonica are more biddable. The best forms have the brilliance of their japonica parent. C. × superba ‘Rowallane’ AGM has been around since the early years of the last century and it is still a good plant with big bright-red flowers. C. × superba ‘Crimson and Gold’ AGM is a darker red with a gold middle. It is inclined to sucker but makes a good hedge. The Victorian C. × superba ‘Knap Hill Scarlet’ has flame red blooms with orange tones. C. × superba‘Nicoline’ AGM has scarlet flowers followed by fragrant yellow fruits. C. × superba ‘Pink Lady’ AGM has clear pink flowers opening from darker buds. C. × superba‘Lemon and Lime’ has pale greenish-yellow flowers fading to creamy white. C. x superba ‘Cameo’ (d) is a fairly new cultivar and not unlike ‘Geisha Girl’, but the semi-double flowers are a little darker, a peachy pink. It flowers slightly later than most others and the flowers make a particularly effective contrast to the fresh green of the new leaves.

Chaenomeles are relatively trouble free but flower buds may be damaged by hard frosts and are sometimes affected with aphid and brown scale, and the brown-tail and the leaf-miner. In the worst-case scenario, like other members of the Rosaceae family, it is susceptible to the serious bacteria disease fireblight.

Chaenomelescan be grown in the open as a bush on any fertile soil. They prefer neutral conditions but can cope with lime. Grit should be added to heavy clay soils. They can be grown in sun or shade but flower better in sun. They also bear more flowers as well-trained wall shrubs, such as fans or espaliers. Once the horizontal framework is established, prune the side growths back to a couple of buds in summer.

The three species can be grown from seed, sown in autumn, but cultivars will not come true using this method and are best propagated vegetatively. This can be achieved by taking softwood or greenwood cuttings throughout the summer.

Good companion plants include hellebores in shadier spots, and the scented tazetta daffodil Narcissus‘Geranium’ in full sun or part shade. Chaenomeles are good planted with Clematis alpina. ‘Willy’ is a good small-flowered pink partner for C. speciosa ‘Moerloosei’ AGM. ‘Frances Rivis’ is larger and blue. Under the strong reds, the green golds of Euphorbia robbiaeor the slightly more tender E. characias‘Portuguese Velvet’ look good.

Page image: Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Moerloosei’ AGM (Image courtesy of HPS image library)

Open Gardens April 2019

This is a list of open gardens within a 50 mile radius of Leeds. Click on the link to open the page on the NGS website (in new window), for details of opening times etc.

7 April:

Clifton Castle, Ripon

Goldsborough Hall, Goldsborough


14 April:

Cascades Gardens, Matlock


21 April:

12 Ansell Road, Sheffield


27 April:

12 Ansell Road, Sheffield

Dale House Gardens, Preston


28 April:

45 Blackwell, Darlington

46 Blackwell, Darlington

The Circles Garden, nr Wakefield

Fawley House, Hull 

Friars Hill, Sinnington

Moorfields, Chesterfield 

The Paddock, Chesterfield


Sledmere Gardens through the Year: Andrew Karavics. 8 February 2019.

Andrew trained at Bishop Burton College. His first job was at Cambo in Fife. He arrived at Sledmere House in 2009 and after two years became the Head Gardener. Since then he has given the gardens a whole new lease of life; they are now renowned for their innovative planting, wildlife and continual development. In spring, there are over 30,000 tulips, narcissus and many more varieties of bulbs, including Fritillaria meleagris AGM, throughout the garden. During summer there are many displays of perennial and annual flowers to suit all tastes as well as attracting a wealth of wildlife into the gardens.

Andrew’s remit was to increase the flowering time in the garden and to add structure and interest. He introduced a more naturalistic form of planting and started growing plants from seed. Now, not only is the garden full of bright, vibrant flowers throughout the year, it also attracts wildlife, including birds, butterflies and bees. 

In 1778 Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown produced a plan for remodelling the estate at Sledmere for the then owner, Christopher Sykes.The Sykes family are still resident at Sledmere. The two-and-a-half-acre walled garden, built in the 1780s to an unusual octagonal design is divided into two halves by an internal wall. The Walled Garden has been undergoing a development programme over the last six years. The gardens have been broken up into different areas or themes, which bring a different feel and colour pallet to the onlooker. From ‘The Reflection Garden’ with its moon gates and reflection pool, through to the formal potager a strong structural element runs through the garden. A formal touch to the grounds can be found on the west side of Sledmere House in the form of a parterre, with spring and summer bedding.

The first garden Andrew designed was the Potager, that contains over 5,000 vegetables and flowers that are grown using the principles of companion planting. Each year the planting is varied, and 95% of the produce from the vegetable beds is used in the visitors’ cafe.

The first themed garden to be developed was the ‘Angel Garden’ which has gentle planting, a contrast to the vibrancy of the exotic borders. This was followed by the ‘Lark Ascending ‘Garden which contains 12,000 spring bulbs. The ‘Reflection Garden’ has a central pond, a brick path surrounded by swags and honeysuckle and lots of plants in reds, oranges and purples. There is also a croquet lawn which took about 100 tonnes of soil to actually get the garden level. 

Traditional herbaceous borders aim to look good all season, but never have a real blast of colour. However, there are two months of high impact, with a month either side for building up and fading away. 

This is a principle put into practice in the new exotic borders in the lower walled garden, which build up to a crescendo in late summer. They are managed as annual borders, in that everything is planted from scratch each year, using annuals, tender perennials and traditional perennials in a different way. These include Musa ensete, Salvia patens ‘Cambridge Blue’ and Antirrhinum ‘Canarybird’. Achillea filipendulina ‘Gold Plate’, for example, which is usually a long-lasting border stalwart, is used here as an annual. It never flops, as it does not get mature enough. Each November, it is lifted, split and overwintered to be put back in next year, as will monardas and kniphofias. 

The original planting included a number of roses which were dying and have been replaced by new plants including the rambler Rosa ‘Alexandre Girault’ (Ra) AGM. Plants used throughout the garden includes Amaranthus caudatusCardiocrinum giganteumEchinacea purpureaEchinacea pallidaGeranium Rozanne = ‘Gerwat’ (PBR) AGM, Iris sibiricaMonarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’, Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’, Rudbeckia hirta ‘Indian Summer’ AGM, and grasses Calamagrostis brachytricha AGM, and Pennisetum villosum AGM. Arisaema and Podophyllum versipelle ‘Spotty Dotty’ (PBR) (v) AGM grow in shady areas alongside the outer walls and yew hedges. 

Outside the greenhouses are containers which offer interesting planting include Amaranthus caudatusRicinus communis ‘Carmencita’, Fuchsia ‘Corallina’ and Helianthus annuus ‘Ikarus’. 

Further out into the parkland with its 18th-century landscape, Andrew is developing new woodland and meadow areas.

Andrew is supported by a team of gardeners, one of whom Mike, he mentioned several times in his talk. 

Sledmere House, Sledmere, Driffield YO25 3XG 

Carine Carlson gave the vote of thanks. 

Page image: Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ (Image courtesy of HPS image library)