RHS Garden Harlow Carr
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The delightful RHS Garden Harlow Carr, one of Yorkshire’s most relaxing and innovative gardens, is situated on the western edge of the spa town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire.
The beautiful 58 acre garden is set in a valley and contains a woodland garden, a stunning herbaceous garden, rock, bog and alpine gardens, wildflower garden and bird hide, Gardens through Time and the Queen Mother's Lake.
The acidic soil affords a fabulous environment for Rhododendrons and Himalayan blue poppies, the gardens contain many rare species including Davidia, Oxydendrum and Stewartia. The woodland and arboretum boast excellent colourful displays of Rhododendrons and Camellias.
Running the length of RHS Harlow Carr is one of the longest streamside gardens in the country, the jewel of the garden, the swathe of hybrid candelabra primulas, astilbes and hostas along the cultivated streamside is spectacular. Sitting at the top of the valley, affording a stunning view of the Woodland, the 24m (80ft) glass Alpine House provides a valuable setting for different specimens.
Springs of sulphur water were discovered on the site in the eighteenth century but development of the site as a spa did not take place for over a hundred years. In 1840, the then owner of the estate, Henry Wright, cleaned out and protected one of the wells and four years later built a hotel and a bath house. People were charged 2s 6d (£0.12?1/2) to bathe in the warm waters. The gardens were laid out around the bath house.
The hotel later became the Harrogate Arms but closed in 2013. In 2014 the Harrogate Arms and the land surrounding it was acquired by the RHS with plans progressing to restore the building, create new gardens around it and reintroduce its links with the old bath house. The bath house now houses the garden study centre. The building was converted in 1958 and contains a meeting room, the library and offices. The six well heads in front of the bath house have been capped off but remain beneath the present Limestone Rock Garden. At times there is a smell of sulphur in this area.
, In 2001 the RHS merged with the Northern Horticultural Society. As part of the merger the RHS aquired Harlow Carr Garden. In the nineteenth century, following the discovery of sulphurous springs, a Bath House had been constructed on the site, this building was converted into a Study Centre and Library, which is still used today.
Children can have fun on the Log Ness Monster and in the Woodland Tree House and enjoy school holiday activities. There are Year round events, sculpture, outdoor theatre, guided walks, quiz trails, workshops and free demonstrations. The extensive RHS Harlow Carr Plant Centre & Shop is home to a generous array of books, home wares and gifts.
RHS Garden Harlow Carr is situated on Crag Lane, off Otley Road (B6162) about a mile and a half from the centre of Harrogate. Car parking is free.