August Bank Holiday Gardens
With the August bank holiday fast approaching, hundreds of volunteers are preparing their gardens for the arrival of thousands of members of the public from England and Wales who seek inspiration and take a peep at some of the country’s best gardens.
The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) will be opening 542 gardens to the public and a further 1362 for those requesting an appointment during the three day weekend. The charity offers a family day out with a difference; as those popping along to their nearest open garden will be supporting the nursing and caring charities who, each year, receive £2.6million.
Almost 4,000 owners in England and Wales open their gardens for the NGS and welcome around 750,000 visitors, all looking for fresh ideas to transplant into their own plots. The other key attraction in most is the offer of fresh cakes and tea.
Since 1927, the charity has raised and distributed more than £35 million to support the charities it supports.
The NGS is Macmillan Cancer Support's biggest single donor, donating over £13 million and funding 130 Macmillan services, such as nursing posts, financial advice, and counselling, helping thousands of people affected by cancer.
Similarly, the NGS is the biggest single donor to Marie Curie Cancer Care. It has given more than £5 million in 15 years. The money raised through the gardens funds the Marie Curie Nursing Service, providing free high quality nursing care giving people with terminal illness the choice of dying at home, supported by their families.
One of the gardens opening on the bank holiday Sunday is in Yorkshire and keen gardeners are able to visit a large peaceful garden that has expansive views in a rural setting. Cold Cotes is situated near Kettlesing and has a series of discrete gardens, with formal areas, a streamside walk, pond and a bog garden. The team has incorporated a sweeping herbaceous border inspired by the designer Piet Oudolf and have a newly developed wooded garden with wonderful spring and autumn colours.
Another bank holiday opening, this time on the bank holiday Monday, is The Stannary at Tavistock. It is a beautiful and informal 2-acre garden with magnificent views over Dartmoor from its position 900ft above sea level. There are deer and rabbits, and gardening here is a challenge and what the owners have achieved is outstanding. The garden was originally a field and Michael Cook and Ali Fife have kept the planting naturalistic and abundant, with areas for wildlife with ponds and meadow.
For more information on gardens opening during the bank holiday or to search for a garden to visit near you, please use the Garden Search facility on our website. Gardeners on the move can also download the free iPhone app which provides a directory of the nearest NGS open gardens.