Visitors invited to enjoy Belsay's Rhododendron Revival.
Months of hard work are coming into bloom right now at Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens in Northumberland, as garden restoration work at the English Heritage property is now complete. Work has taken place to restore and conserve the Rhododendron Garden and protect the many unusual plant species and wildlife.
With three acres full of all varieties of Rhododendrons to preserve in this heritage garden the dedicated team of gardeners at Belsay were coming up against increasing problems with rabbits targeting the plants which have graced the historic home for generations. As a result, new fencing has been installed; a greenhouse has also been added, with the paths around the garden also cleared and ready to reuse.
Belsay's head gardener, Jo Harrigan said: "Belsay Hall boasts some of the finest gardens in North East England and is famed for its magical quarry and formal terraces, featuring many protected and beautiful plant species. This month is the perfect time to visit as the stunning Rhododendrons and other summer blooms are really coming into their own."
Jo will be taking visitors on special behind-the-scenes tours of the Grade One listed Rhododendron Garden - normally off-limits to members of the public - on Thursday 28 June at 10am and Monday 9 July at 10am. The massed planting of colourful hybrids, now in full bloom, can also be viewed daily in all its glory from the Terrace at Belsay and on the woodland walks.
As the dedicated head gardener at Belsay Hall, Jo has played an instrumental part in driving the Rhododendron Garden restoration project forward. She said: "The Rhododendron Garden at Belsay has been around since the early 1900's, when Sir Arthur Middleton, first planted the unusual varieties still nurtured today. It is vital that we maintain and protect this stunning garden for future generations visiting Belsay and this was one of the main reasons we carried out the extensive restoration work. Visitors today can literally step back into history and see the garden as it has been now for over a century.
"The Rhododendrons are at their finest at this time of year and we have many more rare species running throughout the grounds at Belsay, we would encourage people to come and take a look whilst they are in full bloom. The gardens have something for everyone and offer a treat for all the senses, whether it is the summer scents of the Terraces, watching croquet on the sunken lawn or taking a stroll through the enchanting Quarry Gardens."
Nestled in the heart of the Northumberland countryside, Belsay houses over 30 acres of magnificent formal and informal gardens, including the exotic Quarry Gardens, which boasts its own magical microclimate and is home to a collection of Species Rhododendrons. In addition, visitors to Belsay can look forward to seeing the unusual Pocket-Handkerchief Tree. The original tree, thought to be over 80 years old, was lost in 1990, yet since then an extensive planting programme has seen one of the new Handkerchief Trees blossom into a stunning sight at the west quarry entrance. As the name would suggest, the glorious crop of white flowers look a lot like fluttering white tissues!
Jo continued: "There are surprises around every corner in the gardens at Belsay and this is the perfect time of year to come and discover them for yourself. We will be offering visitors the unique opportunity to come and enjoy a sneak peak at the recently restored Rhododendron Garden on 28 June and 9 July - places are limited on these exclusive tours, so call the site to book your slot now."
For more information about the gardens at Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/belsay
Places are limited on the exclusive garden tours and booking is essential. To book your place on the tours of Belsay Hall's newly restored Rhododendron Garden, call the site team at Belsay on 01661 881636
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