Harewood's award-winning head gardener Trevor Nicholson - My Yorkshire Weekend
PUBLISHED: 00:16 04 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:23 20 February 2013
Harewood's award-winning head gardener Trevor Nicholson explains why it's Christmas every weekend this month at the Leeds stately home
This is my 17th Christmas at Harewood and, for the first time ever, the house is going to be open to visitors every weekend in December and for the full week leading up to Christmas, with the gardens and grounds open for wintry walks and enchanted trails.
This means, of course, that my team and I will have our work cut out for us protecting delicate plants against the frost and propagating for spring.
The 7th Earl of Harewood, who died in July this year, always maintained an avid interest in the garden and both he and the Countess were always consulted on colours and planting plans at the turn of every season. A legacy of that is the rhododendron collection, which includes a variety unique to us named Lord Harewood. This is definitely one that Ill be looking to protect and propagate so its not lost.
If we get snow in December, well be out there in the early mornings with long sticks rattling the heavy layer of flakes off the rhododendrons to stop their brittle branches snapping.
Well also be gearing ourselves towards the cultivation of a wide range of heritage vegetables in the walled garden for next year. We have a one-acre kitchen garden designed by Diane Howse, Countess of Harewood, which comprises 16 plots of various sizes and resembles a communal allotment. It has proved very popular with visitors and were planning to grow a wide variety of interesting and unusual vegetables alongside the staple varieties we grow for the Courtyard restaurant.
December is a super time for families to come and enjoy the grounds and the magnificent landscape at Harewood and all of us are making sure there is a terrific range of events and activities for everyone.
There are some lovely walks and vistas to enjoy at this special time of year. The fact that I can enjoy them every day and in every season makes my job even more worthwhile.
Im sure the garden and grounds will continue to evolve under the care of future members of the Lascelles family.
I am more than happy to do my bit to keep the gardening tradition going.
Harewood is open every weekend in December as well as from the 19th to the 23rd. Admission is 5 per car, although some activities will require a small spend (booking is recommended). For more details visit harewood.org/winter or call the box office on 0113 218 1000.