On the hunt for beautiful gardens

PUBLISHED: 12:11 09 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:36 20 February 2013

The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) is always looking for gardens of quality, character and interest with owners willing to open them to the public to raise money for charity.

The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) is always looking for gardens of quality, character and interest with owners willing to open them to the public to raise money for charity.

Would you like to help raise much needed money for charity?

Have you thought that your garden looks beautiful?
Do you think other people might like to visit your garden
Do you enjoy talking about your garden and the plants in it?
Would you like to meet fellow like-minded keen gardeners?

If the answer to these questions is Yes, then why not open your garden for the NGS and help raise money for charity at the same time?

The size of your garden is not critical; some are small town gardens and some are large country gardens. Your garden may be a colourful cottage garden, an immaculate formal garden, a wild-life friendly haven or even a well-tended allotment.

Most gardens open individually on chosen dates. Some smaller gardens open in pairs or as a group in a village. Many gardens also offer by appointment visits, giving garden clubs and tour groups an opportunity to visit at a convenient time.

TV presenter, Carol Klein, of BBC 2's 'Open Gardens' series says:
"Every year, new gardens join The National Gardens Scheme to help raise money for caring and nursing charities. If you think your garden fits the bill, please do not hesitate to contact your local NGS County Organiser who will help you.

If your garden is in:

Somerset, please contact Lucy Hetherington, email: lucyhetherington@btinternet.com or telephone 01934 713159

Bristol, Bath, South Gloucester, please contact Su Mills, email: susanlmills@gmail.com or telephone 01454 615438

There is no reason to wait until the summer, as early contact will enable the County Organiser to arrange a visit to talk about what is involved in opening for the NGS and see if your garden is suitable.

The County Organiser will be looking to see:

if the plants, the landscaping and the design are interesting and attractive

if the garden well is maintained

if you are happy to welcome and chat with visitors

if you can organise adequate car parking space

if there can be some provision for teas and/or plant sales as an added bonus

It is a good idea to visit other NGS gardens open for the NGS to get an idea of what is involved

The County Organiser will also discuss:

health and safety both for the garden and tea preparation

the insurance provided for the days you are open in aid of the NGS

how the NGS will support you to promote your garden open day

Each year more than 3,700 NGS gardens across England and Wales welcome over 750,000 visitors. Last year the NGS gave 2.6 million to the charities it supports: cancer, nursing, caring and gardening charities, as well as many local charities.

The main beneficiaries include:

Macmillan Cancer Support

Marie Curie Cancer Care

Help the Hospices

Crossroads Care

In the last 10 years alone we have raised over 25 million for nursing and caring charities.

Last year in Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucester, 167 gardens opened their gates to visitors for the NGS and raised roughly 107,000 for charity.

The NGS is always looking for new gardens to join the scheme to provide new and interesting gardens for our loyal visitors and to replace those who have decided to hang up their gardening gloves after many years of happy opening.

Opening your garden is a rewarding way to share your passion and hard work whilst raising much needed funds for charities.

You will also be joining a happy club of garden openers, who you will be able to meet and are always ready to provide advice, help and gardening tips.

To find out more about opening your garden for the NGS please contact The County Organisers listed above or look at the NGS website www.ngs.org.uk.

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