13. North Yorkshire Thursday 29 June

Sion Hill Hall, Kirby Wiske – W H Mawer Trust

The current house, which replaced an earlier manor house almost on the same site, was built in 1913 to the designs of Walter Brierley, “The Yorkshire Lutyens”. It was bought in 1962 by Herbert Mawer, who, for the last twenty years of his life, collected paintings and furniture for Sion Hill and formed the trust to maintain his collection in the house. The five-acre garden, which has been restored by the trustee, Michael Mallaby, lies to the south of the house. A large parterre of clipped box and hornbeam leads to the Long Walk, whose double borders were originally laid out in the 1850s. A woodland walk meanders down to the river, with views across the old park and on to the partially-walled kitchen garden, now used to grow vegetables and cut flowers. Michael Mallaby has celebrated the 100th anniversary of the building of the house by planting a Centenary Rose Garden. We will be given a tour of the house by Michael Mallaby, before visiting the garden.

The Manor House, Heslington, York – George Smith Esq MBE and Brian Withill Esq

The Manor was originally an 18th century farmstead. In 1946 Lord and Lady Deramore began to create this three-acre plantsman’s garden. In 1968 it became the home of George Smith, the world renowned flower arranger, and Brian Withill. Subdivided by mellow brick walls, George has devised a series of intimate gardens exploiting the favoured micro-climate. A closer examination reveals colour-themed borders, tranquil ponds, wooded walks and even a corner for Mediterranean exotics. The painterly planting is exemplified by careful plant associations of colour, form and texture as befits a flower arranger’s eye. Refreshments will be served in the tiled loggia, once the cartsheds, decorated with George’s lavish flower groups. A small nursery of home-grown plants offers an interesting selection including Hosta ‘George Smith.

Langton Farm, Great Langton – Mr and Mrs Richard Fife

In the autumn of 2012, the house and garden at Langton Farm were flooded by the nearby River Swale. Rising to the challenge, when the floods abated, Annabel Fife commemorated the event by planting 8,000 Narcissus ‘Actaea’ in circles in an avenue of ornamental pears which runs down to the river from the house. The garden is a collaboration between Annabel, a garden designer, and her husband Richard, who has contributed much of the structure of the garden, particularly the pleached limes and beech hedges. The perennial planting, largely dictated by colour, is all Annabel’s work. A mill stone fountain and four Malus mark the centre of the main garden where the four borders are colour-themed.