A Visit to Harlow Carr


The Northern Horticultural Society was founded in 1946, with the aim of developing horticulture with special reference to conditions in the North.  In 1950, it opened the Harlow Carr Botanic Gardens in Harrogate.  However, in 2001, the NHS merged with the RHS, and Harlow Carr became an RHS site.

It’s a lovely – and busy – spot to visit, although it’s been a lot less busy during lockdown.  It’s open again now, and one of our class members went for a visit.  Here are some of her pictures from the Bog Garden.


Glynis's Harlow Carr 1 A

Yes, it’s rhubarb, but not exactly as you know it.  If you have rhubarb and let it go to seed, you get something a bit like this, but not nearly as elegant.  This one is probably Rheum palmatum.


Glynis's Harlow Carr 2 A

Harlow Carr has some excellent plantings of Candelabra Primulas.  I gather they’ve made another one – give it twelve months and this will be magnificent.


Glynis's Harlow Carr 3 A

Here are some of the primulas, with a stand of hostas that seem not to have a single slug or snail toothmark on them.  How do they do that?.  And the blue flowers, shading into violet, are Himalayan poppies – Meconopsis betonicifolia – that many of us lust after.  It’s an ephemeral thing, demanding in the conditions it requires, and most often acting as a monocarpic plant – that is, one that may live as a rosette of leaves for several years, but once it flowers, it dies.  Some of the other species hybrids, such as the lovely ‘Lingholm’, are more reliably perennial, but they aren’t betonicifolia…  Mind you, neither is betonicifolia – it should probably be called M. baileyi, its original name.  And see next picture, too…


Glynis's Harlow Carr 5 A


Glynis's Harlow Carr 4 A

These may not be the true cultivar, but they seem to have more than a touch of ‘Hensol Violet’ about them, a lovely deep violet variety of Meconopsis baileyi.


Thanks for sharing these!

If you want to visit Harlow Carr at the moment, you have to book a timed slot in advance…



6 thoughts on “A Visit to Harlow Carr”

    1. Yes, but not commonly – it’s simply too big to be worth a place in most modern gardens. I do have one, given by a friend when it had outgrown its welcome. It’s probably R. palmatum tanguticum, with redder leaves, and it is hiding my cess pool, where it’s perfect for the job – and very much enjoying all the fertilizer. :~))

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Just north of here is the Rhubarb Triangle, the best place for growing rhubarb in the world, apparently. Great fields of it (although not as many as there used to be), and long, low underground brick sheds for forcing rhubarb. There’s even a Rhubarb Festival, usually in February. Yummy!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Wow, that is cool that it is still appreciated somewhere. It used to be more common here, even though this is not the best climate here. I got mine from my great grandfather before I was in kindergarten. I believe it is just ‘Victoria’, but I do not know.


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