RHS Harlow Carr column with Liz Thwaite

A small section of RHS Harlow Carrs winter walk. Picture: RHS \ Peter Fenton

A small section of RHS Harlow Carrs winter walk. Picture: RHS \ Peter Fenton

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As a new year starts, it’s always a good time to take stock and celebrate the successes of the team at the garden. It’s wonderful to be able to report that 2016 was another record year for Harlow Carr.

We welcomed more than 400,000 visitors to the garden for the first time, a huge achievement which could not have been done without the hard work of all the staff and volunteers here.

We are now focused on the year ahead and the many developments and new activities we will be putting in place for visitors to enjoy.

The woodland here is a hive of activity at this time of year with clearing and tree thinning taking place to make way for the planting of new ornamental specimen trees.

As I look out of my office window I can see gardeners busy cutting back and tidying up in and around the borders, especially after the recent strong winds.

The lovely mix of Hellebores and some Snowdrops are already showing their faces, it’s still a bit early but do come soon and see the 60,000 snowdrops we have planted around the historic Doric columns in the woodland.

I am always surprised by how much scent and colour there is in the garden at this time of year.

I’m told the lovely smells come from the Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) Mahonias, Daphne and Viburnum doted around the garden.

For colour you cannot beat the winter walk which is a must see at this time of year and has received a lot of national press coverage recently – helping to put Harlow Carr and Harrogate on the map.

Two teams who are now very busy are the Events and Education teams. Our Education Officer is setting up the first workshops from our new programme of Adult Leisure Learning workshops.

We have more than 80 different ones to choose from.

So if you fancy learning about medicinal herbs, designing your own kitchen garden or having a go at botanical drawing to name but a few, pick up a booklet on your next visit or go to our website for full details.

The events team are also busy preparing for a new event taking place at the end of the month.

Our Grow and Show Weekend (28-29 January) takes place with the wonderful local gardening expert Martin Fish, now an RHS Advisor.

He will be hosting the weekend with a panel of experts all giving practical talks and demonstrations with a gardening question and answer session taking place in the Learning Centre.

It’s aimed at both amateur and expert gardeners, so if you’re new to gardening or currently grow your own, this weekend will be a great way to kick-start your horticultural calendar.

See you there!

There is always so much going on at the garden, even in the darkest, wettest winter months and I get to see a lot of it from my office window, I’m a very lucky lady!