Built in the mid 18th Century in the grounds of Duncombe Park and located below Helmsley Castle , lies acres of beautifully ... More
Helmsley Walled Garden
Built in the mid 18th Century in the grounds of Duncombe Park and located below Helmsley Castle , lies acres of beautifully restored walled garden. The greenhouses and ponds are in the process of being sensitively restored back to their historic state. The fruit and vegetables grown here are purely organic and in the garden there are over different varieties of clematis. Not only that, they breed animals too such as pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, geese, ducks and chickens. There are also fresh eggs for sale.
I visited the gardens in July 2008 and found them to be fairly pleasant. However the standards of maintenance in the herbaceous borders was somewhat lacking, the main borders which run across the centre of the garden were in part very neglected, one quarter was empty and was overrun with bindweed and couch grass. The opposite border was planted but hadn't been maintained and was in steep decline. The remaining two quarters were planted with lavender and a selection of ornamental grasses, these were interspersed with a number of standard roses giving an overall pleasant but minimal looking effect.
The long border alongside one of the side walls was pleasant, a good selection of herbaceous plants interspersed with small shrubs.
What could have been magnificent was the "secret garden" but it was a let down, the magical doorways which someone had spent a lot of time building led to only a grassed area with two very small trees, a swing and a minature willow tunnel.
A large area of the garden was given over to vegetable and fruit production which is used to supply the cafe. These appeared well maintained, but are not very inspiring.
For the £4 entry fee I expected a much higher standard of garden and was very disappointed considering their website states there are 3 full time gardeners + volunteers. For less money there are far better gardens to visit.
The cafe was nice, not cheap, but the food was good and wholesome.
Some staff were friendly, others appeared to be somewhat cliquish, and in the shop a couple of staff members seemed more interested in their conversation rather than customers.
Overall, an average garden with lots of potential, but as things are I would be uncomfortable charging people an entrance fee for what is in its essence a "community garden". In time the Helmsley Walled Garden could be a real gem if steered in the right direction.
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