Saturday 4 September 2010

Gardens through time

Near Harrogate in North Yorkshire is Harlow Carr, the most northerly of the four gardens owned by the Royal Horticultural Society. Originally set up by the Northern Horticultural Society, who leased the land from Harrogate Corporation and opened it as a botanical gardens in 1950, it came under the umbrella of the RHS when the two bodies merged in 2001. Although not huge, Harlow Carr has grown from its original size; more than doubling the space available to reach its present size of 27.5 hectares.

Amongst the features added in the gardens since the merger, is the Gardens through Time section, which charts the development of gardening through history and came about as a result of a BBC television programme of the same name (2004). Today's photographs are a couple of samples of what is on offer in these mini gardens.

A shelter from the Regency period.

This was the time when landscape gardening came into its own and visiting gardens became a national pastime. It also saw the birth of the lawn mower; invented by Edwin Budding in 1830 and replacing the rather more labour intensive scythe! (By 1858, more than 7,000 lawn mowers had been sold!) Capability Brown is the most famous name from this time.

I like the way that this shelter blends in with its surroundings, with the bark covered wood and thatched roof. But I also like the geometric patterns of the carvings. They take away the plainness of the structure and make it something more attractive.


Oriental influences have been evident in English gardens from as long ago as Medieval times, when the crusaders brought back tales of the gardens they had seen. Harlow Carr has a specimen garden dedicated to the influence of the Orient, which includes this eye catching pagoda.

The word pagoda is a generic term used to describe a tiered tower with  multiple eaves. They are common South East Asia; such countries as Japan, China, Korea, Nepal... Often they were built as places of worship; mainly Buddhist, and were located close to temples. It is usual for a pagoda to be constructed with an odd number of layers and topped by a finial, often decorated with Buddhist symbolism. (The finial also acts as a lightning conductor, though I suspect that this one isn't really high enough for lightning to be a problem.)

Bright red pagoda... if memory serves me right, red is meant to be a lucky colour in China.


  1. I love a splash of red in a garden, perhaps because the woods are so dark over here and the winter so foggy and grey. Lucky you to have such lovely gardens to visit.

  2. I really like that first one. The thatched roof so plain and the carvings giving it distinction ~ simple and elegant.

  3. I love gardens. I wish I had the space for one of my own.

  4. beautiful,
    I love gardens.