York Gate Garden near Leeds opens its gates to the public for the 2016 season on Easter Sunday following an exciting
programme of restoration and development. Over the past year the charming one-acre garden, which is owned and run by horticulture trade charity Perennial, has been replanted and refreshed and a new gift shop, tea room and even
ts centre have been created. An event was held on Wednesday 23 March to mark the official opening of the garden, where Jim Buttress, Vice President of Perennial, unveiled a plaque to launch the new visitor facilities.
York Gate is regarded as one of the UK’s best small gardens, designed in the Arts & Crafts style by the Spencer family during the 20th century. The investment by Perennial into first class facilities for the garden has enabled it to develop from being a private hidden gem into a notable visitor attraction that attracts thousands of visitors each year.
“This is a charming garden that holds a special place in the affection of many of its visitors. We are pleased to open these wonderful new visitor facilities that will help put York Gate more firmly on the map as a visitor destination and one of the must-see gardens of Yorkshire.”
York Gate is designed around a series of 14 outdoor rooms, each with its own unique character, laid out on a framework of yew and beech hedges and York Stone and granite paths. At just one acre in total, it is this intimate scale that makes the garden relatable to visitors, providing them with practical inspiration to take home and recreate in their own gardens.
Head gardener at York Gate, Adam Bowley comments:
“York Gate is an intimate and well-designed garden but we faced the challenge of refurbishing what is now a mature garden set within a modest space. We have replanted parts of the garden and reduced the beech and yew hedges that surround it to bring back the scale. We have tried to create some more modern planting combinations, while making sure that all work is in keeping with Robin Spencer’s original design and the Arts & Crafts style.”
The new Field Room at York Gate provides a venue for events, hosting a series of courses and workshops throughout the year that are open to the public and the facility is also available to hire for classes and small group events. The new gift shop is light and bright and stocked with a wide range of gifts and gardening products, profits from which go toward helping Perennial support horticulturists in need. The refurbished tea rooms serve sandwiches and savoury platters as well as a selection of freshly baked cakes.
Thanks to National Lottery players Perennial is also developing its visitor information and interpretation, with a three-year project called ‘The Heritage of York Gate’. Perennial received a £84,200 grant from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a volunteer-led project to research the garden’s history and create a permanent exhibition for visitors, all part of a drive to increase public awareness and help sustain the garden.
About York Gate:
When Frederick Spencer bought York Gate in Adel near Leeds in 1951, it was nothing but a house surrounded by farmland. He laid down the bones of the garden, but after his death in 1963, it was his son Robin who took over the development and design, inspired by some of the outstanding gardens of the Arts & Crafts movement such as Hidcote. He divided the space using yew and beech hedges and created the separate parts of the garden with exquisite attention to detail, while using great skill to unite them into a coherent whole through a continuous succession of vistas and focal points.
After Robin’s sudden and premature death in 1982, his mother Sybil, a gifted plantswoman, continued to develop the fascinating plant collection, which remains today. On Sybil Spencer’s death in 1994, the garden was bequeathed to Perennial, so that it could continue to live on and be enjoyed by the garden-loving public.
York Gate opens for the 2016 season on Sunday 27th March (Easter Sunday)
27 March – 30 September
Sunday to Thursday (and Bank Holiday Mondays): 12:30 – 4:30pm
Evenings in June
Every Wednesday in June (1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th): 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Standard admission £5.00
Gift Aid admission £5.50
Children (16 and under) Free
Friends Membership (valid for one year) £25
Address: Back Church Lane, Adel, Leeds, LS16 8DW Tel: 0113 267 8240
For further information visit: www.yorkgate.org.uk
Perennial offers free, confidential advice and support to everyone working in or retired from horticulture and their families, including gardeners, landscapers, nursery and garden centre staff, parks and grounds care staff and tree surgeons. People turn to Perennial for financial and emotional help in times of need because of disability, sickness, poverty, financial hardship and old age – although increasingly younger people are seeking their assistance. Many individuals describe the services Perennial offers as a ‘lifeline’. The work of Perennial depends entirely on voluntary donations from the horticultural industry and the garden-loving public.
ABOUT HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND:
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery @HLFYandH