York Gate is a one-acre garden created by the Spencer family between 1951 and 1994. Frederick and Sybil Spencer purchased the property in 1951 when their only son, Robin, was 17 years old. Until that time it has been a farm; initially they kept a small amount of livestock but immediately they started to create a garden. The garden was laid out over a period of 30 years.

Frederick Spencer laid down the bones of the garden but after his death in 1963, it was Robin who was largely responsible for its development. Robin was not trained in horticulture but had a flair for design which he combined with an inspired use of materials and plants. The design of ‘rooms’ interlinked through a succession of vistas and executed with meticulous attention to detail owned much to the Arts and Crafts movement, but was created in an original way and complemented by Sybil’s skills as a plantswoman.

Robin died suddenly in 1982 at the age of 47. During the next 12 years Sybil (pictured above in 1980 and left in 1991) cherished the garden, adding to the already considerable plant collection, without changing the overall layout. In accordance with her wishes, on her death in 1994, York Gate was given to Perennial. Whilst acknowledging that some change is inevitable, the charity continues to maintain the garden in sympathy with the Spencers’ design and strives to retain those qualities that make it so special.

About Perennial

Perennial is the UK’s only charity dedicated to helping people working in horticulture when times get tough, providing free advice, support and financial assistance to people of all ages working in or retired from horticulture. Our national team of trained, professional Caseworkers and Debt Advisers visit people in their own homes and provide free, confidential advice and financial assistance for as long as it takes to get people back on their feet. If you are a horticulturist in need of assistance, or you know someone who needs help, please call 0800 093 8543 or click here.



Snow Drop Week 2018

Tuesday 20th to Friday 23rd February

12.30pm – 4.30pm

Garden Season Spring/Summer 2018

1 April – 30 September 2018

Sunday to Thursday (and Bank Holiday Mondays): 12:30 – 4:30pm

Friday and Saturday CLOSED

York Gate Garden features a bright new shop stocked with a lovely range of gifts.

Our popular Tea Rooms serve sandwiches and savoury platters as well as a selection of freshly baked cakes, including a daily gluten free choice.

Visitor groups are welcome but please book first. Contact us at yorkgate@perennial.org.uk


York Gate Garden leaflet 2017