Giant floating lily pads installed at Grewlthorpe sculpture park

George Roberts tries out one of the giant lily pads installed at the Himalayan Garden by sculptor Rebecca Newnham who is also in the picture. George is the grandson of Peter Roberts who started the garden.

Floating giant lily pads – nearly 1.5 metres in diameter – will be the central attraction this Spring at the 20-acre Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park at Grewelthorpe, near Masham.

The garden is open Tuesdays – Sundays and Bank Holidays from March 30 to July 1.

The lily pads are a first for sculptor Rebecca Newnham – who already has two other floating installations at the gardens – The Wave and Magnolia.

Some of the construction work for the lily pads was done at a boatyard using marine-grade stainless steel which supports a fibreglass skin.

Each pad is separately anchored and will float in a circumference to create constantly changing configurations.

Rebecca Newnham said: “I have always had an interest in kinetic sculpture that interacts with the environment in a considered but playful way.

“Each pad is a different colour to represent a flower or leaf found in these beautiful gardens with tones of red, orange, yellow and pink.

“The lily pads are a new design for me and I am confident they will prove a popular addition to the 60-strong permanent sculpture collection.”

In the visitor centre at the gardens Rebecca will also be exhibiting Facets, a collection of 30 glass bowls which celebrate Victorian architecture.

Also new for 2018 are 5 large chairs by acclaimed turned wood sculptor Liam O’Neill from Co. Galway in Ireland.

They are made from Californian Redwoods which were introduced to County Wicklow in 1848. Liam’s work is in several US collections and is owned, amongst others, by HM Queen Elizabeth II and the Emperor of Japan.

The Himalayan Garden is considered to have the North’s largest collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias.

There are nearly 20,000 plants including some 1,400 rhododendron varieties, 250 azalea varieties and 150 different magnolias – all set in a beautiful valley with scenic woodland walks.

Other new attractions include a sculpture trail and visitors will also be able to see the construction of a Norse woodland cabin.

The newly planted 20-acre arboretum will be open with its Kath Kuni traditional Himalayan shelter as will the nursery which sells nearly 200 different varieties of rhododendron.

Visitor facilities include a modern tea room, a children’s play ground and activity area and a new children’s activity booklet is also available.