Earlier posts

Earlier posts
This blog is a continuation of an older one. To explore previous posts please click the photo above.

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

York Gate flora

At around one acre, York Gate Garden is small compared to many gardens that are open to the public, but therein lies its charm. It feels intimate and, wandering through the various 'rooms' that interconnect, pleasing little vistas open up. Somehow too, you feel closer to the planting itself than you do at, say, Harlow Carr, which is vastly bigger. York Gate offers a wholly different experience. 

The view above is shot through a window in the potting shed, and shows just one of the several 'sculptural' focal points that are cleverly woven into the garden. On a different scale, a collection of potted plants on a wall offers colour and texture. 

I liked the little hanging bells of blossom on the tree/shrub below.  I had no idea what the tree was but I have since identified it as Enkianthus Campanulatus, native to Asia. 

The front wall of the house has an old wisteria with wonderfully twisted stems, which just happened to be in full bloom when I visited. The scent is heavenly. 

Magnolia seems to have lasted well this year. I'm sure it doesn't usually bloom at the same time as the rhododendrons. 

I have some of these (below) in my garden - astrantia. (At least I think that's what this is.) Mine are pale in colour but I liked this deep red. 

It must be peak season for alliums. These tall purple globes add interest to the borders: 

Monday, 29 May 2023

York Gate Garden

I recently met friends at York Gate Garden near Leeds. I've been before but not for a few years and, although the garden itself remains much the same, the property next door has been added and converted into a large and pleasant café (always part of the pleasure of visiting places like this!) The one-acre garden was originally created between 1951 and 1994 by the Spencer family, around their home. They bequeathed it to the horticultural charity Perennial, who now own and manage it. 

It is laid out in a series of interlinked 'rooms' and owes much to the Arts and Crafts Movement, with several sculptural pieces and lots of details and textures in the hard landscaping and the lush planting. Sadly we were just a little late for the tulips (which I remember were spectacular in past years) but there were plenty of flowers and lots of beautiful and varied foliage. 

There are straight, formal pathways as well as gentler, more meandering routes around different parts of the garden. 

There is a large pond (top photos) and a 'canal' pool with a fish-shaped fountain. 

I enjoyed just wandering about and, even though it was very busy with visitors, I did manage a few pictures without people photo-bombing. 

Sunday, 28 May 2023

Arts Trail

Spring Bank Holiday weekend is traditionally the time for the annual Saltaire Arts Trail, now back after a few years of Covid disruption. This year the weather is ideal - warm, dry and sunny. Yesterday I was out and about exploring, though there's too much to see in one day and so it's nice to live locally and be able to opt in and out of it. 

A number of the village houses are opened as art galleries, in some cases displaying work by the house's resident and often hosting other artists' work too. The quality and variety of what's on offer is stunning. I wish I had more walls and deeper pockets to be able to invest in some beautiful pieces. Mostly I make do with buying a few cards to support the artists, though in the past I have bought one or two small artworks and scupltures and some jewellery. 

The Victoria Hall acts as the hub and also hosts a large Maker's Fair, with a variety of arts and crafts for sale, all of them high-end in terms of quality.

Local schools and colleges get involved. Bradford School of Art had taken over the Wash House Gardens. Students from the Foundation Degree in Textiles Practice showed some imaginative pieces exploring the theme of 'habitat' and what that might mean to different, people, animals and plants. 

Because of the lovely weather, there were a lot of people around the village and many of them eventually made their way down to the green spaces of the canal and the park. The queue at the ice-cream boat never let up. 

The Arts Trail continues today (Sunday) and Monday. Whether the good weather holds remains to be seen! 

Saturday, 27 May 2023

Calderdale bluebells

The bluebells locally are almost over now, whereas those around my daughter's home in Calderdale still seemed fresh and vibrant. I make no excuses for another 'bluebell post' as I do think them the prettiest of our wildflowers. They look especially attractive when mixed in with other plants like the stitchwort below. 

There were sheets of blue threaded through the woods. 

The bracken is unfurling too, making attractive shadows on the paths. 

Friday, 26 May 2023

A Calderdale ramble

It was a glorious Spring day, warm and sunny, so we took the dog for a long walk along the footpaths of the Calder valley near Hebden Bridge. At first we walked up a deep ravine, known as a clough in these parts, criss-crossing the stream - Colden Water - that runs down through shaded rocks and freshly minted foliage. 

There were plenty of treasures to discover along the way and time for a game of Pooh sticks on the bridge.

After a while we came out above the trees, catching glimpses of far-reaching views across the valley. 

Up here we followed an ancient stone-flagged trackway, worn down by generations of feet going about their business. 

Then down the hillside again to a pretty spot where a clapper bridge crosses the stream near the hamlet of Jack Bridge. 

Here we stopped for a mini-picnic, enjoying the warmth of the sun in this sheltered spot. A peacock butterfly was also basking on a rock. I only had my phone with me so apologies for the grainy photo.

One small girl, truly in her happy place! 

Thursday, 25 May 2023

Wonderful wisteria

It seems to be a good year for wisteria. The vine on the front of my daughter's house was looking magnificent and smelled divine. Not that the dog was bothered...

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

Salts Mill fantasy

(This is better viewed large, on black - click on the image.)  As I said not long ago, I've been trying some blended collages, just for fun. This is a medley of views of the canal side of Salts Mill. I tried a tryptych (which you can see on my other 'Roots and Wings' blog HERE) but I'm not sure if the image on the left on that one quite works, so I removed that for this version. The problem I have with doing these type of creative images is that some days I like them and other days I can pick loads of faults in them. Perhaps it's always like that with the creative process. 

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Spring wildflowers

Staveley Nature Reserve (see yesterday) is home to some rare plants including orchids, but you'd need to be a good botanist to find and recognise them... and I'm not. I did, however, enjoy seeing many of our common spring flowers. There were fields full of cowslips:

It's my favourite season, when the hedgerows are full of hawthorn blossom and the cow parsley starts to flower, its delicate lacy heads bobbing in the breeze. 

I believe the vibrant blue flower above is green alkanet, a plant I've only recently learned to recognise. The lovely pink one below is red campion, which I've been able to name since I was a child. I had a brief flirtation with identifying, picking and drying wild flowers in a small press, when I was about eight. Clearly the pink appealed to a little girl! 

A little bunny rabbit was far enough away to be unfazed by my presence. 

I'm not entirely sure on the ID of the one above. It might be bugle. The one below with mauve bell-shaped flowers is, I know, comfrey, much loved by organic gardeners as it can be used as a fertiliser. 

This one is garlic mustard or 'Jack-by-the hedge'. Its leaves, faintly garlic scented, can be used in salads. Do you see the tiny snail on the plant? I think it's also a plant that attracts orange-tipped butterflies and there were a few of them flying around, as well as the bright yellow brimstones.