This month Tricia Harris welcomes the reopening of Helmsley Walled Garden and the start of spring

EVERY season has particular joys for me and if I were pushed to pick my favourite I would say early autumn. The scent of autumn, the long evenings with fabulous sunsets and harvest moons, the whisper of a chill in the air and the garden wrapping itself up for winter slumber just wins by a nose.

But spring is wonderful: the feeling of life stirring, the green noses of bulbs and perennials pushing through the soil, signalling the return of colour to the borders and the sheer vibrancy of it all after winters muted tones really lifts my spirits.

Everyone is working hard to prepare for opening. I cannot sing loud enough or long enough, the praises for all our volunteers. This has not been the easiest of winters for all the obvious reasons. There have been months when they have not been able to garden with us.

But they are back now and working like little powerhouses as they hoe, and weed and prune and cut back and generally help to bring the garden to life.

Opening this year will be slightly different. We will open from 10am till last entry at 4pm. The gates will close as usual at 5pm but we are trying to avoid disappointing customers who come at 4.30pm hoping to get round the garden in half an hour.

We will also be open from Wednesday to Sunday rather than seven days a week. With only two full-time staff it was a mammoth task to open every day of the week and by the end of October I felt like a wraith. However, we will be open right up until Christmas, our last day open this year being December 24th.

We have some events lined up for this year. We’re really pleased to be welcoming back The Three Inch Fools Theatre Company with two different productions. In June they’ll be in familiar Shakespearean territory with Romeo and Juliet. In August they will be giving two performances of their family friendly production of The Miraculous Mis-Adventures of Robin Hood. Expect fast paced fun and plenty of music making.

We’re also hosting two exhibitions by local artists Clare Carlile and Lesley Seeger, hosting a joint fundraiser with the national Garden Scheme and of course we’ll be celebrating all things apple in October.

If any of this takes your fancy or you’d like to try out one of our workshops, there’s plenty of variety: photography, mindfulness and painting to name but a few.

Whether you visit for an event or just to sit in calm to enjoy the garden we look forward to seeing you. And if you want to be more active you could maybe think about volunteering.

Everything from gardening to serving in our shop and welcoming visitors: pruning, maintenance and painting. Don’t forget to renew your Residents Pass, or again if you would like to support us even more, you could consider becoming a Friend.

Friends give us financial and practical support to help us maintain and develop the garden alongside providing opportunities for therapeutic horticulture, giving all our volunteers, the chance to work with others in a safe environment, developing new skills and benefiting from being outdoors.

Whatever you decide, we hope you’ll visit.

The world can seem a bit forbidding right now, but we all benefit from time for ourselves in beautiful green spaces. Be sure to look after yourselves and do just that.

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