Thursday, 13 September 2012

Garden Visit - Millgate House, Richmond

I go to Richmond, North Yorkshire, quite a lot. My Grandpa has lived in a home there for a fair few years and over that time I've got to know its mixture of antique shops, charity shops, book shops, cafés and local pubs very well. It's a lovely town and I can quite easily spend whole days there pottering around and relaxing. On top of all of this there is the beautiful surrounding countryside and the lovely local architecture which all adds up to a place where I could very comfortably go and live.

Imagine my surprise then, when I discovered (by means of an episode of Gardeners World no less) that there was a beautiful and apparently award winning garden hiding there, right under my nose in the town centre. In the same row as the wonderful York House Antiques, it is located in a quiet corner at the bottom of the market square.

Millgate House is an upmarket bed & breakfast. I've not been inside (although I intend to make a point of doing so by staying there as soon as possible), but from the pictures I've seen it's a beautiful period building which has been tastefully furnished by the owners in an appropriately grand style. I look forward to verifying this for myself...

Anyhow, on to the garden. This was a spectacular place to visit. A fantastic example of what can be done with a smaller space, and proof that you don't need rolling acres to create something special. Having a picturesque old house and weathered stone walls as a backdrop certainly helps, but it's not essential.

This really was a garden after my own heart. The style was exactly what I'd like to achieve and the selection of plants was very similar to my own. There were wonderful clumps of Hostas, ferns, hardy Geraniums, Clematis and Roses that smelt so good that it was an effort not start chewing on them. These are all things I grow myself and it was really inspiring to see the effect that can be had once things have matured and you start mixing them up and repeating them around the garden. I sometimes worry that I might be overdoing things with numbers of certain plants, but I can see from this that not only is this not the case, but that I'm barely scratching the surface of what can be done. I wanted to rush home and start moving and planting things straight away while the ideas were fresh in my mind. It also made me feel less guilty about my plantaholic tendencies.

One thing I particularly liked was the amount of seating areas - There are three or four separate sets of seats (and usually a table to go with them) in various places around the garden. All of these were positioned in such a way that you couldn't see the other areas which gave a wonderful sense of security and privacy, and the planting around them was made up of a variety of fragrant flowers. I think that, given the chance (i.e. someone else to entertain the intrepid baby), I could have cheerfully sat there for hours. Preferably with a nice bottle of wine and a good book for company.

One of the seating areas. Pity I didn't notice the brush when I was taking the photo...
The atmosphere of this garden was so relaxing. It made me feel totally disconnected from the rest of the world. It's a place were you could forget all of your cares and spend hours unwinding and slowly exploring. It was a real effort to tear myself away, and I can't wait to go back. Next time I shall go more slowly and take the time to make notes and take more photos. I haven't visited a lot of gardens yet, but certainly none of the ones I have seen have had the same impact on me as this place.

My sister bearing the extreme weight of the intrepid baby.

I can't recommend a visit here enough. Entry was only £2 each and once you've had your fill of the garden (unlikely as this seems), there is the rest of the town to explore as well.

For more photos and rather better descriptions of the planting, see this post on the Wellywoman blog.