little birdie

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York Gate Garden

Today felt properly Spring like. Sunny, warm at times and the light through the windows at home was glorious (although obviously highlighting how super dirty they were!). My son is still at school this week, they break up for the Easter holidays tomorrow and I'm hoping that we'll continue with this weather so we can get out and about a little. We've no huge plans for the holidays, my husband is working so it'll be mostly me and the Boy. This afternoon I made the most of my free time and visited a garden I knew existed but had never visited, York Gate in Adel, Leeds. 

Originally used as farm land, Frederick Spencer bought the house in 1951, his purpose to create an Arts and Crafts style garden, with the one acre of land divided by yews and beech hedging into separate garden rooms. Over the years his family have developed the garden before the horticultural charity, Perennial took over in 1994. Recent improvements include a lovely tearoom which serves light lunches, hot drinks and cakes as well as a rather nice gift shop with products from Garden Trading.  If you are arriving by car, you park a few minutes walk away opposite the prettiest little church and then meander down the church path and along a little woodland track till you come upon the house and garden.  

This is a garden of calm and relaxation. I felt myself exhale as soon as I walked in the gate. It's a place to sit, to wander, to enjoy a coffee in the sunshine. Although small, it's perfectly formed, with a glasshouse stuffed full of succulents and cacti, a herb garden, the quirkiest tool shed I've ever seen (that round window is spectacular and the light coming through it, simply incredible), a walled kitchen garden, several ponds and water features. There are many places to sit and appreciate the view, I can only imagine how stunning each area is going to look as we move through the seasons. I bought a mug of hot chocolate and took it outside to enjoy on a bench overlooking the glass house. 

I spent a couple of hours at York Gate, wandering, appreciating little details and of course taking many, many photographs. There is a small plant nursery where several varieties grown in the garden are offered up for sale and these change as things come in to flower throughout the year. I didn't buy anything today but I did have my eye on some of the tulips are they were really unusual. I thought I'd wait until they are flowering and in a couple of weeks they will be, so I'll return to choose then. 

I know that in the coming weeks and months I'll be able to see colourful, scented perennials and herbs. They are absolutely my favourite kinds of plants for the garden, but for now, I was happiest in that glasshouse. It was succulent heaven and that burro's tail on the wall, spilling over it's planter was the star of the show for me. 

York Gate Garden offers a little bit of magic in the middle of a big city. It is a place to find calm and take away the stresses of everyday life, to embrace the seasons and the natural world.  I even saw my first butterfly of the year there this afternoon. Summer is coming. x

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