Are your herbaceous borders looking drab or do your flower beds seem under the weather? Revitalise your garden this summer by taking inspiration from some of the county’s most picturesque, well-kept and creatively-designed gardens. Across the county, people are opening their garden gates in the name of charity. The National Gardens Scheme raises money for healthcare charities such as Marie Curie hospices and Macmillan Cancer Support by coordinating a series of garden open days for the public. This year, the gardens opening range from small private gardens to sprawling stately homes, and many offer plant stalls, marked trails and refreshments. So you can have a great charitable day out while you feast your eyes on gardens both big and small, experimental and traditional, public and private, but united by one thing – beauty.
Here’s our pick of the 10 best gardens opening their gates this summer:
Dove Cottage Nursery Garden
Shibden Hall Road, near Halifax HX3 9XA. Every Friday, 3 June to 26 August, 10am–5pm
This garden has been an 18-year labour of love. It is a great example of a cottage garden, with wandering paths and ample seating. Check out the romantic tulip arbour and the late summer perennials before heading to the nursery, where plants are on sale.
Cawood, near Selby YO8 3UG. 9 and 10 July, 12pm–5pm, and by arrangement in August
This group garden is made up of three contrasting gardens: 9 Anson Grove, with an oriental vibe, pagoda and Zen garden; 21 Great Close, a flower arranger’s garden with great views, and Pigeoncote, a walled garden surrounded by historic 17th century buildings. Don’t miss the 11th century church and the remains of Cawood Castle on your riverside walk between the gardens.
389 Manor Lane, Sheffield S2 1UL. 8 and 9 July, 10am–4.30pm
Jointly run by the University of Sheffield and the environmental company Green Estate, Pictorial Meadows is a research garden based on developing visually-attractive meadows. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the research beds and seed production nursery. Don’t miss the beautiful Lavender Labyrinth.
Dacre Banks & Summerbridge Gardens
Nidderdale HG3 4EW. 10 July, 11am–5pm
Enjoy the scenic Dales landscape as you walk along the valley between these four gardens. Low Hall and Riverside House make use of different levels and Yorke House has a secluded garden full of roses and fragrant plants. Woodlands Cottage is designed to harmonise with the surrounding woodland and has a beautiful wildflower meadow and productive kitchen-garden.
8 Gillus Lane, Bempton, Bridlington YO15 1HW. 6 and 7 August, 10am–4pm
Mansion Cottage is a wildlife oasis with a bee and butterfly border and bog garden. Produce stalls will have plants and hand-made soaps for sale.
Ripon HG4 3LS. 7 August, 12pm–5pm
This exhibition is made up of two gardens in the small village of Littlethorpe. Explore Greencroft’s temple pavilions, cascade water feature and rose pergola before admiring Kirkella’s willow hedge and Mediterranean gravel garden.
Skewsby YO61 4SG. 31 July, 11am–5pm
This compact ornamental garden features a vegetable garden, breeze house, pond and pergola. The owner is a specialist grower of Penstemon, Hosta and Heuchera and has many varieties of these unusual plants for sale. Home-made cakes and teas will be served alongside a BBQ with burgers and sausages.
Hunmanby, Filey YO14 9RS. 9 and 10 July, 11am–4pm
This elevated garden with great views of Filey Bay has been designed as a series of micro-climate ‘rooms’. As you walk through the garden, you are taken from a jungle to a pond garden. Herbaceous borders, topiary shrubs, tropical plants and a huge waterfall give this garden interest.
84 Selby Road, Garforth, Leeds LS25 1LP. 28 July and 21 August, 1pm–5pm
A garden with 3,000 varieties of perennials, shrubs and trees, many of which are specially dought-tolerant. Visit on 28 July for the Family Day, with a treasure hunt in the wood and giant games, and on 21 August for a seed/cutting opportunity.
2 Whin Hill Road, Doncaster DN4 7AE. 6 and 7 August, 1pm–5pm
A new rhododendron garden complements the white and hot borders in this terraced garden. Relax in the thatched summerhouse as you enjoy the soft sound of doves in the dovecot.
Have you got a garden you’d like to show off? www.ngs.org.uk