Cornwall and the west coast of Scotland have some fine temperate gardens well worth a visit but Yorkshire has the grandeur of the stately home garden.
Starting with an old site a must visit is Yorkshire’s first World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal a huge estate of beauty, contrasts and surprises including the largest abbey ruins in the country and one of England’s most spectacular Georgian water gardens.
Castle Howard’s 1,000 acres of Gardens are stunning whatever the time of year, and visitors can find peace and tranquility whichever path they choose. Delightful walks reveal in turn hidden glades and breathtaking views with Azaleas, Rhododendrons and Magnolias to dream about.
RHS Harlow Carr the northern mecca for Royal Horticultural Society members there is much to learn and see with the upgraded facilities now on display. I am looking forward to the opening of a new library in 2010.
Parcevall Hall Gardens, up in the true dales on a steep hillside near Appletreewick, are planted with many specimen trees and shrubs collected from Western China and the Himalayas. Far from main roads this is a retreat in more senses than one.
Helmsley Walled Garden and Duncombe Park can be visited as one but the Parkland was closed when I last visited. The walled garden dating back to 1758, and set against the spectacular backdrop of Helmsley Castle was more than enough to hold my interest.
Thorpe Perrow Arboretum is open all year and has 85 bacres of woodland walks and a display of Falcons and other birds of prey. Look out for spring bulbs and blossom or wait for the autumn foliage.
Ripley Castle has been in the Ingleby family for 700 years but is now open to the public. The walled kitchen garden contains an extensive herb bed and an extraordinary collection of rare vegetables. The pleasure grounds contain a collection of specimen trees from around the world and thousands of spring flowering bulbs, daffodils, narcissi, snowdrops, aconites and bluebells.
York Gate is a one-acre garden tucked away behind the ancient church in Adel that is opened for Perennial the Gardeners Royal Benevolent Society a charity that has been helping horticulturalists since 1839
Newby Hall has sweeping long herbaceous borders and is my current favourite garden to visit. The national collection of Dogwoods is spectacular when in flower.
Burnby Hall Gardens at Pocklington has a national collection of waterlilies and the Stewart Museum. look out for heathers and the old Victorian gardens.
Wentworth Castle’s 50 acres of Grade 1 listed gardens are, historically, some of the most important gardens in the country. There is a fine Fernery and some great Holly behind the castle pictured above.