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Let’s Look at Gardens

Every year the National Garden Scheme supports garden owners to open their gardens to the general public benefiting the NGS charities by asking a small entry fee.  Last year alone the NGS were able to donate £3million to their major charities:- Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Mind, Treloar Trust, Kids early years children’s centres, Parkinson’s UK and others.

The National Garden Scheme has donated £58 million to charity since its foundation.

Originally set up in 1927 to support district nurses, the National Garden Scheme now raises millions of pounds for nursing and health charities each year. The scheme also supports charities doing amazing work in gardens and health, grant bursaries to help community gardening projects and support gardeners at the start of their career.

Despite running for almost 100 years the scheme is still not widely known.

In addition to their annual donations to nursing and health charities, the National Garden Scheme grants awards to help community gardening projects.

In 2011 the National Garden Scheme set up an award scheme in memory of Elspeth Thompson, the much-loved garden writer and journalist who died in 2010. Elspeth was a great friend and supporter of the National Garden Scheme; she also wrote an admired ‘Urban Gardener’ column in the Sunday Telegraph. Her column often celebrated community gardens and so the awards support gardening projects carried out within local communities all over England and Wales.

Previously managed in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, from 2019 the scheme will be wholly managed by the National Garden Scheme.

In 2020 we gave out awards to 44 projects bringing the total of projects supported to-date to over 100, with a total amount donated of £209,384.

Gardens and Health Week is being led by gardening broadcaster and National Garden Scheme Ambassador, Rachel de Thame. In her introduction to the week, filmed in her garden this year, Rachel speaks about the crucial role her garden played during 2018 and 2019 when she was diagnosed with and underwent treatment for breast cancer.

“My garden became a lifeline, it was a place of escape… but above all it offered me a sense of promise for the future, that glimmer of optimism kept me going through treatment.”

On Friday 8th May this year, a series of Virtual Garden Visits relating specifically to Gardens and Health were made available on the NGS website.

Some have been filmed in hospital or other health-related settings; these include the garden of a Marie Curie hospice, a Horatio’s Garden for a spinal injuries unit and a Maggie’s centre for cancer sufferers – all garden spaces supported by National Garden Scheme funding. There are also films by National Garden Scheme garden owners demonstrating the benefits of gardens to their health, such as Amanda Goode whose garden helped her overcome the loss of her daughter and granddaughter, Alan Clements whose garden helped him recover from life-threatening spinal injuries, Alison Jordan and Chris Lane whose gardens help them cope with Parkinsons, and two generations of GPs whose garden brings them solace in these testing times.

While people are unable to visit gardens in person the NGS is releasing new Virtual Garden Visits every Thursday so that people can enjoy the restorative and therapeutic effects of viewing these beautiful gardens.

There are several gardens in the Cambridgeshire area which are regularly open to the public.   Since coronavirus, it has become necessary for all the gardens to be booked in order to be sure that a timed slot will ensure that national guidelines on social distancing can be easily observed.  Therefore, if you would like to visit a garden then do visit the ngs website and reserve your ticket.  www.ngs.org.uk.