The award-winning, 20-acre Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park at Grewelthorpe, near Ripon, will be open from Good Friday (April 14th) until June 25th.
In addition – from June 1st – the new 12 acre “Hutts Arboretum”, planted with over 300 species and cultivars of trees and also featuring the new dramatic Fir Cone sculpture, will be open to the public for the first time.
Also, as part of the ongoing projects in the gardens, a newly created area of woodland covering over 14½ acres which has been planted with rare trees and shrubs, can be seen from the lakeside and will be enjoyed by the public in future years.
Also new for the 2017 season is a purpose-built, 50-seater cafe serving a range of teas and
coffees as well as snacks and soup. Another new facility is an information and educational centre where visitors can learn all about the history of the gardens, why rhododendrons, azaleas, flora and fauna thrive here and how the gardens are providing a safe haven for plants that have all but disappeared in the wild. There is also an ongoing programme of encouraging birds in and around the garden. Unusual visitors last year were a pair of pied flycatchers and two Cettis warblers.
The gardens – which attract some 10,000 visitors each spring – are widely considered to have the North of England’s largest collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias. There are nearly 20,000 plants including some 1,400 rhododendron varieties, 250 azalea varieties and 150 different magnolias – all set in a beautiful valley with scenic woodland walks and some 60 permanent sculptures. Exotic varieties flourishing here include Schefflera Impressa from Northern India; Rhododendron sinofalconeri; an old Rhododendron ‘Loderi Venus’; a Daphniphyllum macropodum from Korea and a Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. asplenifoliius (Catalina Ironwood) from California.
A large collection of flowering Cornus extends the season with further interest provided by Sorbus, Acer, Cercidiphyllum, Disanthus, Cercis, Menziesia and Enkianthus. Other plants of interest include highly scented Loderi and Embothrium coccineum (Chilean fire bush).
Various species of rhododendrons that are almost extinct in the wild are happily growing at The Hutts. In the future these rare species will be propagated to increase their numbers to create a conservation garden. The well-stocked nursery, which has nearly 200 different varieties of rhododendron as well as many other hardy ericaceous shrubs and perennials, has also been extended.
Opening hours are 10am to 4pm Tuesdays to Sundays, admission £7.50 (children under 12 free), tel 01765 658009, www.himalayangarden.com