Breezy Knees Garden, York
If you were at the May meeting where Don Witton gave his excellent and amusing presentation on ‘Once Seen Never Forgotten’, you too may have been interested in hearing about Breezy Knees Garden near York.
We happened to be spending a few days in Flamborough, Yorkshire the following week and by altering our route home only slightly maaged to fit in a visit to this fascinating garden.
Quirky is the word which comes immediatley to mind, interesting and unusual also fit the bill. We spent several hours there and it was nowhere near enough, we had to rush to get our delicious cream tea in before closing time. (The café, visited several times during our time there) was excellent and unlike so many places stayed open almost until the gardens closed. There was a superb nursery too, for once selling many of the plants we saw around the gardens instead of the same as every Garden Centre in the country and prices weren’t too expensive either!
It was quite a long walk along ‘The Rabbit Path’ to the garden proper and they do try to keep the rabbits out! A splendid gate allowed you in to start on a circuit of the garden rooms, which seemed to get bigger and bigger as we went on. They had some lovely names such as Stonehedge, a version of Stonehenge made up of pillars of clipped beech, and plenty big enough to lose yourself in. A June Garden a May Garden, a September Garden, Rock Garden, Pond and Shade Garden, Cottage Garden and many more, 20 in all. There was a garden with fountains in which started up every 4 minutes and performed for 2 minutes with different patterns and comfortable seats to sit and watch from too.
There was a 15 foot sculpture of a pair of wellington boots in one garden and a matching 15 foot trowel in another. Lots of metal sculptures and other interesting features all around.
One place I was determined to see before we left was ‘The Rogues Gallery’, I could not imagine for the life of me what would be in there. It turned out to be an area planted up with all those thugs of plants you planted because they looked so nice but then wished you hadn’t because they take over your garden, we have quite a few of those ourselves! Their sign read’ Rogues Gallery, so called because all the plants here, whilst attractive, are very invasive and if planted in normal borders would soon swampeverything around them. However, hopefully here they will meet their match – their neighbours may be even bigger thugs than they are!’ Love it! We must go back and see who wins.
The garden was started on arable farmland in 1999 and was planted first with a framework of trees, hedges and shrubathamanta turbiths and then as those began to provide some shelter work began on the borders and garden rooms and is still ongoing. It is called Breezy Knees because it is very exposed “and if you stood there in January, you wouldn’t ask why it was called that!” It is only open from May through to September for that reason. It is one of only a handful of British gardens with a current 5 star Trip Advisor rating and is situated on the eastern outskirts of York, some 5 miles from the city centre.
Thank you Don, for enthusing about it in your talk, and introducing it to us, a place well worth a visit by anyone. But leave plenty of time!!
Sue and Trevor Wray