Category Archives: Gardens

UK GARDENS ON CUSP OF AN ALMIGHTY EXPLOSION OF SUMMER COLOUR

UK gardens and green spaces are on the verge of a unique explosion of summer colour as the peak of two flowering seasons combine to create the most dramatic spectacle seen in years, says the UK’s gardening charity, but the best of it could be over in days.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) reports that this year’s weather has provided the optimum growing conditions* for summer flowering. The warm, wet winter followed by the sunniest May on record and then a bout of rain in June has produced an exceptional crop of summer blooms.

Stronger, bigger buds and more prolific flowering has created abundant displays of early blooms such as lilies, rhododendrons, irises, roses and hydrangeas, and mid-summer flowers such as verbena, rudbeckia, heleniums and geraniums are now coming into their own.

The apex of this floral extravaganza may happen this weekend and at the four RHS Gardens the show has already begun but the seasonal overlap could pass by quickly as early summer flowers are likely to start going over next week.

At RHS Garden Rosemoor, in Devon, Curator Jon Webster says, “Fiery displays of reds, oranges, yellows and purples on plants like red hot pokers, rudbeckia, dahlias and goldenrod are springing to life in the Hot Garden while whites, blues, pinks and silver foliage bring an oasis of calmness in the Cool Garden.” The largest rose gardens in the South West are also still brimming with colour and scent from over 2,000 roses.

RHS Partner Gardens are reporting colourful spreads including The Bishop’s Palace Gardens in Somerset which is also awash with daylilies including ‘Chicago Sunrise’, and pretty blue salvias – and their multi-coloured Bishop series dahlia collection is the best it’s ever been with Garden Manager James Cross saying: “Everything has come together to produce the best summer colour I have ever seen.”

Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticulturalist, says: “Our work is done in the garden so happily all that’s left to do is enjoy the summer flowers. The unique blast of brilliant colour that’s about to hit will bring even greater enjoyment than normal but you’ll need to be quick to catch its full glory.”

All visitors to the gardens (RHS members and non-members) need to book online so that social distancing can be controlled and in accordance with Government guidelines for ‘track and trace’. Although there may be availability on arrival, the advice is to pre-book to avoid disappointment as some sessions get completely filled.

PHOTO: Dead-heading at Rosemoor to prolong flowering.

RHS ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH STUDIOCANAL FOR THE SECRET GARDEN

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has announced a major collaboration with STUDIOCANAL to celebrate the forthcoming family film The Secret Garden. Set for release in April 2020, the film will be brought to life by the world’s leading gardening charity across its famed Gardens, Flower Shows and nationwide initiatives including the Campaign for School Gardening.

A new take on the much-loved novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, THE SECRET GARDEN tells the story of Mary Lennox (Dixie Egerickx – Genius, The Little Stranger and A Royal Winter), a prickly and unloved 10-year-old girl, born in India to wealthy British parents. When they die unexpectedly, she is sent back to England to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven (Academy Award® and BAFTA-winner Colin Firth – A Single Man, The King’s Speech, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Bridget Jones’s Baby) on his remote country estate deep in the Yorkshire moors, under the watchful eye of Mrs Medlock (BAFTA-winner Julie Walters – Mary Poppins Returns, Harry Potter, Mamma Mia) and with only  the household maid, Martha (Isis Davis – Guilt, Electric Dreams) for company. Mary begins to uncover many family secrets, particularly after meeting her sickly cousin Colin (Edan Hayhurst – Genius, There She Goes), who has been shut away in a wing of the house, and through her discovery of a wondrous garden, locked away and lost within the grounds of Misselthwaite Manor. While searching for Hector, the stray dog who had led Mary to the garden walls, she befriends local boy Dickon (Amir Wilson – His Dark Materials, The Kid Who Would Be King) who, through the garden’s restorative powers, helps her to fix Hector’s injured leg. Together, these three damaged, slightly misfit children heal each other as they delve deeper into the mysteries of the garden – a magical place of adventure that will change their lives forever.

Inspired by the film’s key themes of friendship, wonder, magic and healing, the collaboration between the RHS and STUDIOCANAL will give people of all ages an opportunity to explore the many ways in which gardens and gardening can help us connect with each other, and improve our physical and mental wellbeing through the magic of growing.

Young gardeners across the nation will be encouraged to unlock their imagination and try their hand at designing their own Secret Garden for the chance to have elements of their design recreated in their school or community. Details of how to enter will be available on the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website, at RHS Gardens and selected RHS Partner Gardens.

From 21 March to 3 May at RHS Garden Rosemoor, families can discover areas of the gardens they may never have visited before on the trail of six hidden keys. A range of inspiring workshops (30 March – 10 April) will encourage both adults and children to try out gardening tasks, arts and crafts and other creative activities and a range of branded books will be available to buy from the Gift Shop.

Families will also have the opportunity to discover the magic of gardening with The Secret Garden-themed workshops at RHS Flower Show Cardiff (17-19 April), RHS Chatsworth Flower Show (11-14 June), RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival (6-12 July) and RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (22-26 July).

Wild About Gardens, the joint campaign by the RHS and The Wildlife Trusts aiming to raise awareness of how to support garden-dwelling creatures, is also inspired by The Secret Garden for 2020. The focus will be on helping people learn about butterflies, with a booklet and online experience demonstrating how to attract these valuable pollinators to the garden by creating a butterfly box or border.

The Secret Garden is a wonderful story about the power of gardens to heal and bring people together – something all of us at the RHS truly believe in,” says Amanda Cole, Head of Marketing at the RHS. “When STUDIOCANAL approached us about this collaboration we knew immediately that it would resonate with our members and visitors, and we are delighted to be bringing the movie to life through our Gardens, Shows and campaigns. This biggest-ever brand partnership for the RHS will reach thousands of people and we hope that it will inspire them to discover a secret garden of their own.”

Stuart Henderson, Head of UK Marketing for STUDIOCANAL, adds: “We are delighted to be working with The Royal Horticultural Society on this far-reaching partnership. The young characters in The Secret Garden find their lives transformed when they engage with the natural world around them, demonstrating how outdoor spaces can help all of us improve our wellbeing – all of which makes the RHS the perfect partner for the new film. We are excited to work with them on this partnership, promoting the positive benefits of engagement with gardens and bringing this timeless story to the big screen for a new generation.”

The Secret Garden will be in cinemas nationwide from 13 April 2020.

ROSEMOOR GLOW 2019

The winter at the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Garden Rosemoor in Devon is always a treat and is one of the most beautiful sights in all seasons. This year, visitors can see the garden illuminated by innovative and dynamic colour-changing lighting to provide a magical festive trail around the trees, shrubs, water features and sculptures, along a new route which will this year include the Cool Garden for the first time with its rippling water rills and once again extended to The Lake.

On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between now and 4 January (excl. 26 December) the gardens will be open until 8pm to maximise the effects of the lighting into the evening hours, and on those days, normal garden entry includes Glow (free for RHS members) so you can enjoy a full day out seeing the gardens and sculptures by day and then also by night.

The award-winning Garden Kitchen Restaurant will be serving  delicious simple family suppers 5-7pm, (booking is highly recommended to avoid disappointment). Take advantage of late-night shopping as the Rosemoor Shop & Plant Centre will remain open until 8pm too on these nights and will be the place to go for all those Christmas Gift and plant ideas.

Other events taking place:

Rosemoor’s extremely popular annual Winter Sculpture Exhibition will also be up and running from 14 November to 31 January. Last year, over 50,000 visitors enjoyed the eclectic mix of exhibits that are set against the backdrop of the garden. This year, the exhibition has been freshened up with a high proportion of new artists. Most of the sculptures featured in the exhibition are for sale.

To make the most of a visit to Rosemoor there is also a special Winter Wonders Garden Trail which includes many specimens from our national collection of hollies and featuring key highlighted plants and shrubs around the garden.

22-24 November
Christmas Design for Living Fair
The Garden Room will be full of the South West’s best craftspeople making it the ideal place to snap up an early Christmas present or two. Combining with Rosemoor Glow Friday & Saturday it will be open late 11am-7pm making it feel like a proper Christmas Market, whilst on Sunday it is open 10am-4pm when you can take advantage of Rosemoor’s delicious carvery.

14 and 15 December
Magic of Christmas Food & Craft Fair
A magical fair full of temptation and delights, from a mixture of artisan food and craft stalls. Combining with Rosemoor Glow, on the Saturday it will be open late 11am-7pm, making it feel like another wonderful Christmas Market, whilst on Sunday it is open 10am-4pm when you can take advantage of Rosemoor’s renowned Exmoor beef carvery.

8, 15, 18 and 22 December
Christmas Lunches
The Garden Kitchen restaurant will be serving delicious Christmas Carvery lunches between 12-3pm (Sundays), 12-2.30pm (Wednesday).

20-23 December
Father Christmas and his elves family experience (ticketed event)
There is of course only one real Father Christmas! This year, before he heads out on his sleigh, he will be here at RHS Garden Rosemoor to entertain your family with a festive storytelling session in his magical workshop theatre. He’ll be joined by his elves who will teach children Santa’s favourite Christmas song and help them to make a beautiful decoration for their Christmas Tree. Your family will have the opportunity to meet some of Santa’s Reindeer and of course, each family will get the chance to meet the big man himself.

Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the memory. Online booking is essential to avoid disappointment. On 20 and 21 December, why not combine your visit with the Glow event for a wonderful family day out.

Every visit supports the charitable work of the RHS. For more information on events Rosemoor visit www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor Normal garden admission applies (free for RHS members). Garden open every day (except Christmas Day) 10am-5pm.

NEW COOL GARDEN AT RHS ROSEMOOR

A new Cool Garden, designed by Chelsea gold medallist Jo Thompson, will open at RHS Garden Rosemoor this month. The new garden, centred on the use of water, will feature plants with blue, white and pastel-coloured flowers complemented by grey foliage. It will provide a calming contrast to the fiery colours of the nearby Hot Garden.

The main theme of the garden is how gardeners can deal with heavy rainfall, a typical occurrence in Devon but also an increasing challenge elsewhere in the UK because of climate change. It has been three years in the planning and represents a £¼ m injection of new garden content. It will prove to be a huge draw for tourism with both previous visitors to the garden and new audiences wanting to see it.

It is also the first garden at Rosemoor to be designed around an ornamental water feature. A curved terrace allows visitors to look down across the plantings, and the terrace wall has five water blades which feed rills running through the garden to a teardrop-shaped pond.

The new design builds upon the relaxed planting of the former Spiral Garden (which was designed by Tom Stuart-Smith in 1991 shortly after Rosemoor was gifted to the RHS). The design and planting have stood the test of time with its subtle pastel tones and silvery foliage. Many of the original plants will be incorporated into the new Cool Garden, but the portfolio of plants, especially those with blue and white flowers, will be increased and the sinuous water feature will add a beautiful and reflective element.

The garden’s designer, Jo Thompson, explains the principles underlying the Cool Garden’s design: “Situated in a location with some of the highest recorded annual rainfall in the UK, we wanted to harness the abundance of water, by channelling it to a particular part of the site. This is a good example of how gardeners need to embrace the conditions they have to work with and turn a potential problem into a focal point.”

Jo continues: “Having the opportunity to work on a flagship garden such as RHS Rosemoor is a real privilege, by being able to make a landscape that is openly accessible to everyone to see and enjoy and be inspired by.”

Jonathan Webster, Curator at RHS Garden Rosemoor, said: “Although we have natural streams at Rosemoor, we want to show our visitors how a designed landscape can help to deal with heavy rainfall. As well as the rills, the lower section of the garden will be a permeable resin bound gravel to help reduce water run-off, showing how visitors can be inspired to find solutions at home.”

Planting is based upon a cool, pastel planting scheme and contrasts with the bold colours of the Hot Garden, which features reds, oranges, purples and yellows and is a blaze of bright colour in summer.  Around 2,500 plants have been put in, with around 50% being recycled from the old Spiral Garden and the rest representing new plants to Rosemoor. Plants that have been specially selected are tried and tested in this region and include the silver birch Betula pendula Fastigiata Joes (‘Jolep 1’), selections of Hydrangea paniculata and Philadelphus, a selection of grasses to add movement and texture and Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ commonly called catmint.

Construction of the Cool Garden began last August by a local Devon-based company, Rural Stonework & Landscapes, who have built a couple of the show gardens at previous Chelsea Flower Shows. They have wonderful artisan skills in stone walling – a typical feature of the Devon countryside and were perfect for this garden. Around 125 tons of Cornish stone from Trebarwith Quarry was used and it took over 6000 man hours to complete. Water Artisans from Dorset were also invaluable as they advised on the construction of and then commissioned all the water features of the garden.

The official launch of the Cool Garden will take place during the first day of the Rosemoor Garden Flower Show (16-18 August) by Tim Upson, the RHS Director of Horticulture, who has been instrumental in getting the garden installed at Rosemoor. It will join the other permanent designer gardens such as the Model & Town Gardens, the Queen Mother’s and the Shrub Rose Gardens, the Winter Garden, the Cottage Garden, Potager and Foliage Garden all of which provide inspiration and ideas for visitors’ own gardens. During the show staff will be on hand in both Cool Garden and in the adjacent Hot Garden to talk through the designs and features with visitors.

Rosemoor’s Garden Flower Show is very different from the traditional RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows and is an altogether more relaxed experience. Instead of large floral marquees, the nurseries taking part each have a mini show garden and marquee spread through the stunning 65 acres of gardens. In addition to all the permanent designer gardens, there will be flower arranging demonstrations by top florist Jonathan Moseley, specialist talks from the nurseries and RHS staff and a floral display trail using some of the garden shelters and created by local floristry clubs with a theme of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (the RHS gardens summer holiday theme for families). Rosemoor also welcomes other local charities and organisations into the new ‘Community Village’. There will be plenty of delicious food and drink to tempt you as well as live music all three days.

Normal garden admission applies, which is free for RHS members. For more information on events visit rhs.org.uk/rosemoor.

GLORIOUS SOMERSET GARDENS OPEN TO HELP ST MARGARET’S HOSPICE

More than 50 beautiful gardens across the county are opening to visitors in aid of St Margaret’s Hospice.

The charity has just launched its 2019 Glorious Somerset Gardens season, which kicks off with Little Orchard in East Huntspill on Sunday 28 April, and runs until September. Last year’s programme of garden visits raised an amazing £16,600 for the hospice.

Susan Bickle, coordinator of Glorious Somerset Gardens, said: “Here at St Margaret’s Hospice we know how important our gardens are to the health and wellbeing of our patients and their families, providing places of relaxation as well as reflection.

“For years our loyal supporters have been opening their gardens to raise funds for us. This year we have more than 50 amazing gardens to visit, including village walkabouts, a school allotment, an arboretum, a private nature reserve and many stunning gardens with beautiful views. There is something to interest everyone. Many gardens will also be offering delicious cakes, scones and teas, or added extras such as children’s trails and book sales.”

Among those supporting St Margaret’s Hospice by welcoming visitors are garden owners across Mendip and Wells, South Somerset and the Blackdown Hills, Taunton, the Quantocks and Sedgemoor, West Somerset and Exmoor, Yeovil, East Somerset and West Dorset.

Full details of locations, opening dates and admission prices can be found in the Glorious Somerset Gardens 2019 brochure, available from St Margaret’s Hospice shops, selected local garden centres and tourist information centres.

Susan added: “We are so grateful to all our garden owners and volunteers. We hope people will enjoy discovering these wonderful gardens while helping to make each day count for patients and their families facing a life-limiting illness across Somerset.”

Season tickets, priced at £25, are available for anyone who would like to explore the wide variety of participating gardens. They can be ordered from Susan Bickle on 01935 709182 or via the St Margaret’s Hospice website by searching for a season ticket.

More information can be found at www.st-margarets-hospice.org.uk/glorious-somerset-gardens.

TOBY BUCKLAND’S GARDEN FESTIVAL COMING UP

Garden presenter Toby Buckland’s Garden Festival is back for a sixth year in 2019 and it’s going to be a treat for fans of TV gardening. Popular presenters from BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World – Joe Swift and Frances Tophill – are speaking at the award-winning event on 3 and 4 May at Powderham Castle, near Exeter in Devon, along with actor John Challis – better known as ‘Boycie’ from Only Fools and Horses – and RHS judge Jim Buttress.

Garden designer Joe Swift has been one of the main presenters on the BBC Two’s flagship gardening show since 1998 and is speaking on Friday 3 May. Frances Tophill, who travels the UK presenting on GW and ITV’s Love Your Garden, is at the festival on Saturday 4 May. Frances hails from Kent but now lives near the sea in Exeter and takes a keen interest in coastal gardens.

Toby says, “I’m delighted to welcome two high-calibre gardeners who really know their onions, both ornamental and edible!”

Talks are held in Powderham Castle’s magnificent wood-panelled Dining Hall and are free to festival visitors. Other highlights include a new larger VIP area, a new layout providing more under-cover space in the castle’s old riding stables and a new talks tent, plus the festival is now dog-friendly for the first time.

Tickets are now on sale and cost £10 for adults (children under 12 go free). VIP tickets cost. £55 See www.tobygardenfest.co.uk for more information.

EASTER EVENTS AT ROSEMOOR

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden Rosemoor in Devon has teamed up with publisher Macmillan Children’s Books for an exciting programme of family fun during the Easter Holidays (6-22 April), based on The Rhyming Rabbit, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks.

The Rhyming Rabbit is a clever adventure from the picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, creators of What the Ladybird Heard and Sugarlump and the Unicorn. With brilliant rhyming verse, bright and distinctive illustrations, this story is a delight to read aloud.

Families can enjoy The Rhyming Rabbit Hop About Trail which will take them around the garden, meeting the Rhyming Rabbit’s animal friends along the way. Youngsters can also take part in craft activities such as the chance to make their very own rabbit headband. Other workshops will help families explore how animals live in the wild and in their gardens, how plants help to sustain them and what they can do to support wildlife of all kinds.

Amanda Cole, Head of Marketing at the RHS, says: “The Rhyming Rabbit is a delightful tale of exploring the world around us and making new friends in unlikely places, and we are thrilled to be bringing the story to life in our gardens this Easter. Just like the character in the book, our visitors will discover all kinds of creatures and plants as they journey around the gardens.”

Alyx Price, Communications Director at Macmillan Children’s Books, adds: “We are delighted to be partnering with the RHS again in 2019. Together we can introduce The Rhyming Rabbit and his friends to a wide audience this Easter and the activities promise to be great fun for all ages.”

Other activities taking place this Easter include: The Golden Carrot hunt when families can solve the clues leading to the location of the Golden Carrot on a map for a chance to win books and RHS prizes.

At the start of the school holidays on 6 and 7 April, Rosemoor is hosting a brand new event – Wool & Yarn Fest. This will include a wealth of traders and displays of products from talented local craftspeople as well as a number of demonstrations and workshops using these versatile materials. In addition, there will be young alpacas and spring lambs for all the family to meet.

On Tuesday 9 and 16 April, The Really Wild Learning Show with Kim Insull returns to Rosemoor with his collection of minibeasts and creatures to get up close with, some of which are laying eggs! This is a ticketed event (plus normal garden admission) and there is limited capacity of 30 children per show priced at £2.50 per child (aged 3yrs and over) and tickets need to be booked in advance to avoid disappointment.

For more information and to book tickets, please visit the website rhs.org.uk/rosemoor or phone 01805 626810.

PROJECT TO RECREATE LOST GARDENS NEAR SIMONSBATH GETS UNDERWAY

A project to recreate a 200-year-old picturesque garden in the former royal forest of Exmoor, near Simonsbath, got underway last week following major funding from the Western Somerset LEADER programme and Exmoor National Park Authority.

The garden was once the vision of wealthy businessman John Knight, who in 1818 purchased a vast area of remote, uninhabited wilderness formerly used by the Crown for hunting and largely untouched since the Bronze Age. He set about building a grand mansion amidst an elaborate ‘Picturesque Landscape’ – a concept central to the Romantic Movement focused on harnessing natural beauty to enhance the sense of drama in the landscape.

For reasons that aren’t well understood his dream was never finished and his importance in shaping the Exmoor landscape remained largely overlooked until letters and documents dating from the time were uncovered in a loft near Kidderminster in 2016. These revealed ambitious plans to reclaim a vast area of remote valleys, mires, moors and woodland, along with the creation of a bespoke road and canal network, plus numerous buildings and farmsteads.

Even by modern-day standards it was a remarkable feat – with a 29-mile-long boundary wall, at least 12 miles of roads, two farmhouses, two canals, networks of land drains and the cultivation of more than 2,500 acres of moorland all documented as completed within the first 18 months. But amid faltering finances, a family feud over inheritance and his wife’s ill-health, the mansion remained unfinished, whilst the once awe-inspiring gardens sank back into obscurity.

Now, in the year of the 70th anniversary of the Parliamentary Act that gave rise to the UK’s National Parks, a team of volunteers working alongside the Simonsbath Programme Steering Group and Exmoor National Park Authority hope to bring the gardens back to life through work to reopen one of the original picturesque walks and restore historic buildings that formed part of the original garden.

Charlotte Hornsby, garden volunteer and member of the Simonsbath Programme Steering Group, said: “I’ve always been interested in historical gardens and so to be involved in one in my village is just fantastic. It was such an exciting day to finally start bringing John Knight’s picturesque vision back to life. It will truly be an Unexpected Garden of Exmoor.”

Rob Wilson-North, Exmoor National Park Authority’s Head of Conservation and Access, said: “The lost gardens of Ashcombe are a very rare example of a Picturesque landscape – a concept that underpinned the Romantic Movement and helped put the countryside at the very heart of Britishness, setting the tone for the creation of the UK’s National Parks over a century later.

“We hope these gardens will not only evoke the spirit of the Knight family and their important role in Exmoor’s past, but also help celebrate the special role of National Parks in shaping our cultural identity.”

Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the project should contact Patrick Watts-Mabbot on 07973727469 or email getinvolved@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk.

NEW SUBSCRIPTION GARDEN PLANT SERVICE ON EXMOOR

GardeningBoxes.co.uk are a new company based on the edge of Exmoor providing subscription deliveries of garden plants. Customers can tailor the subscriptions to suit their outdoor space, with options to select plants for sun or shaded areas, and can pause and restart subscriptions at any time. The GardeningBox option is designed to provide high-quality repeating (perennial) planting for a bed 3m2 over the course of a year subscription, whilst the ContainerBox subscription comprises 3 deliveries of plants to provide year-round colour in a large (45cm) container.

Director Matt Healey says, “As a professional gardener for the past 20 years, friends told me that they struggled to select appropriate plants for their gardens and found it difficult to know how best to maintain them. We established GardeningBoxes to give people confidence and enjoyment in their gardens, by providing high-quality plant deliveries matched with easy-to-follow online advice, videos and articles which are free to subscribers. We are confident that we can provide excellent value to our customers and help them achieve a garden to be proud of.”

GardeningBox deliveries are free to UK addresses (excluding Highlands and Islands). The GardeningBox option is priced at £33 (monthly subscription), whilst the ContainerBox refreshes at £45 every four months. Gift options are also available. For more information visit the website at www.gardeningboxes.co.uk.

SOMERSET GARDENERS GROW SUPPORT FOR ST MARGARET’S HOSPICE

St Margaret’s Hospice was delighted to host a celebration event at Brympton House, near Yeovil, to thank the Somerset gardeners who kindly opened their gardens, allotments and farms this summer to raise vital funds totalling £16,600 for the hospice.

The use of the venue and gardens was kindly donated by the owners, and was enjoyed by this year’s participating gardeners along with the open garden volunteers who had supported them on their open days.

Each garden owner and volunteer received a thank you certificate, presented by Marisa Lovell-Fox, Head of Fundraising at St Margaret’s Hospice, who said: “We are humbled by the generosity of the garden owners in the Somerset and Sherborne community, who have so kindly allowed people to share their beautiful gardens, and enjoy tea and cake, while raising essential funds needed to keep our services free and accessible to local people. We have been overwhelmed by the donations received this season, which show an increase of £7,000 from the previous year.”

Susan Bickle, the scheme coordinator, added: “We had an amazing response to our Open Gardens season this year, with a variety of different visits available, from small courtyard gardens to large woodland and lakes, with allotments and farms in between. Unlike some of the national open gardens schemes, all of the donations raised from the St Margaret’s Hospice Open Gardens season are used to support local patients and families in Somerset and the Sherborne area of Dorset.

We are keen to hear from anyone who would like to take part in the 2019 season either to open their garden, allotment, orchard or farm, or to offer help as a garden volunteer. There are many ways to support the scheme, even if you are unable to open a garden, such as having a plant sale, serving refreshments at your local flower show, or having a scarecrow trail in your village. We are also seeking local businesses who would like to advertise in our 2019 Open Gardens brochure or donate a prize to the Open Gardens raffle.”

St Margaret’s Hospice is all about making each day count for their patients, families and carers – if you would like to be part of making this happen through the Open Gardens scheme, please contact Susan Bickle, Open Gardens and Fundraising Volunteer Coordinator, for more information on 01935 709182 or 07736 886145 or by email on susan.bickle@st-margarets-hospice.org.uk.