Today’s Object of the Week is an Edwardian rock garden, which is undergoing an extensive restoration and will be open to the public in April.

WHEN visitors return to one of the north’s most famous gardens in April, they will get the first rare-plant-filled glimpse of the major restoration of a historic Edwardian rock garden – thought to be one of the largest of its kind in the UK.

Newby Hall’s expansive rock garden, boasting a waterfall, hidden nooks and even a miniature aquaduct, is undergoing a five-year refurbishment – and the initial phase is now complete.

The Northern Echo: Ed Round and Dave Petherbridge working in the Rock Garden at Newby Hall. Picture: CHARLOTTE GRAHAMEd Round and Dave Petherbridge working in the Rock Garden at Newby Hall. Picture: CHARLOTTE GRAHAM

Scores of new rare and unusual plants, many of which will be in full spring bloom when Newby Hall opens for the season, have replaced overgrown foliage in the iconic garden, and large architectural rocks unearthed.

Built before the First World War when the new trend for rock garden construction was at its peak, Newby’s rock garden includes a waterfall, stone bridge that doubles as a miniature aquaduct and many vast rocks covered with rare plants and trees.

Ellen Willmott, the visionary Edwardian plantswoman and a great friend of Newby’s owners at the time, was integral in its conception and construction.

The Northern Echo: Major Compton, grandfather of the current owner of Newby Hall, who started the rock gardenMajor Compton, grandfather of the current owner of Newby Hall, who started the rock garden

Work on the garden ceased in 1914 when many of the Estate workers signed up for Kitchener’s Army, heading off to France. Sadly, many did not return.

A century later, many of its shrubs, plants and trees had outgrown the space, and specialist work by the garden team is restoring it to its former glory.

Also getting a 21st century revamp are the dazzling dahlia beds at Newby Hall with dozens of new varieties getting their first showing this year in an eye-popping, contemporary colour palette.

Delicate fritillaries, oxslips and tulips have been planted under apple and quince trees in the Orchard Garden to give a full-on, late spring display, and Newby Hall’s famous 172 metre-long double herbaceous border is on track to give a real flower-powered punch all season long.

The Northern Echo: Newby Hall’s famous double borderNewby Hall’s famous double border

For the first time, the popular three-day Harrogate Autumn Flower Show will be held in the grounds of Newby Hall (September 17 to 19) and show goers will get free access to the gardens as part of their admission ticket.

The event is famed for its giant vegetable competition, the Northern Championships for the National Vegetable Society and one of the best autumn bloom displays in the UK, so both flower lovers and grow-your-own aficionados alike will get their horticultural fix.

The season at Newby Hall culminates with Apple Day and the Apple Throwing Championships on October 3.

Other garden gems at Newby Hall include a national Cornus collection, a stunning autumn garden packed with late-flowering salvias, magnificent magnolias in the Tropical Garden and a traditional sweet-smelling rose garden.

* Newby Hall and Gardens is located between Ripon and Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire.

Visitors to the site are advised to check the website – – for opening details as Government guidelines will need to be followed.