Ness Botanic Gardens curator to take on RHS Harlow Carr

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has appointed Paul Cook as the new curator of RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, succeeding Elizabeth Balmforth.
 
He was curator at Ness Botanic Gardens for more than 11 years. At RHS Garden Harlow Carr, he will be responsible for managing and developing the garden’s plant collections and leading a team of 30 horticulturists, RHS trainees and volunteers.

Cook said: "RHS Garden Harlow Carr is a wonderful garden, with a lot of potential, especially in the woodland. I’m going to focus on shade planting to create even more year-round interest for visitors. Although I’m thinking about the bigger picture, with long-term plans looking as far ahead as half a century, there will be many new things for visitors to see within the next couple of years, ensuring Harlow Carr remains one of the top gardens in the country and is always special to Yorkshire."

Cook began as a trainee gardener at Arley Hall and Gardens in Northwich, Cheshire. He then enrolled on a three-year diploma course at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Following his graduation, he lectured at Reaseheath College, Nantwich, before going on to run his own garden-design business. In 1993, Cook returned to Arley Hall and Gardens as head gardener before leaving for the curatorial role at Ness Botanic Garden in 2002.
 
Harlow Carr head of site Liz Thwaite said: "With tough growing conditions, dominant natural features and a sustainable approach to horticulture, RHS Garden Harlow Carr is a demanding site to care for, so picking the right person for the role was crucial in order to maintain, and build on, the garden’s high standards."


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