HIDDEN in the grounds surrounding East Riddlesden Hall are unexpected places to explore or simply sit and enjoy the gardens and surrounding countryside.

The Herb Border, once the 17th century manor house’s medicine cabinet, is full of scent in summer; the Wild Garden is a tranquil place to sit and enjoy a garden in its natural state.

And the more Formal Gardens near the house is a place to sit and appreciate a riot of colour inter-spersed with more formal hedging and the avenue of trees.

The Wild Garden, a visual tapestry of colour which changes as the season progresses, reaches its peak in the spring with ribbons of tulips, bluebells and spring flowers under the trees.

Later in the year, grasses and summer flowers take over and it’s a haven for birds bringing up their young.

During the summer months, and especially from June onwards, the Formal Garden takes centre stage.

The borders of flowers that frame the house are ever-changing and the variety of colours, textures and and shapes make the garden a wonderfully inspiring place to spend a summer’s afternoon. A heady mix of deep purples, pinks, fuchsias and blues with the occasional sunset yellow and soft gold contrast with the sharp green of the lawn and topiary.

Climbing hydrangeas cover the walls in a riot of greens and creams, with honeysuckle, clematis and other climbers adding scent and colour throughout the garden. Hardy geraniums, spectacular roses and peonies in the borders… all filling every available space in a cornucopia of colour.

The Herb Border reaches its peak in June and July, when the air is scented with evocative smells of lemon, thyme, camomile, aniseed, mint, rosemary and lavender. Traditional herbs which were once used as medicines for the Estate’s inhabitants have been replanted into a wonderfully scented border.

A Thyme Table has been added showing the different varieties of this evergreen herb which has culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. Thyme oil was used before antibiotics were developed to medicate bandages and has antiseptic properties.

A Camomile Lawn has recently also been replanted… traditionally used as a herbal infusion for various medicinal purposes including as an anti-inflammatory as well as treating insomnia and promoting restfulness and calm.

Jill, our Head Gardener, manages the garden with her team of volunteers, and always has the en-vironment in mind. The Greener Garden encourages biodiversity of species and the garden is maintained as organically as possible: chemicals are rarely used and then only where absolutely necessary.

The Greener Garden leaves areas untouched to encourage birds, butterflies, insects, mammals, bees and other pollinators.

Jill keeps the garden evolving and ever-changing throughout the year so there is always something new and of interest to see; her team are also quite happy to share some Greener Gardening tips for everyone to use in their own gardens.

Ultimately the key to a successful garden is simply ensuring the right plant is planted in the right place and improving the soil to give those plants the best possible chance.

Jill really does bring to life how to garden in perfect partnership with nature.