The National Garden Scheme is an organisation that offers people access to stunning gardens around England and Wales, raising money for nursing and carers. This year it has reached a phenomenal milestone, celebrating 90 years of fundraising and enjoyment of beautiful British gardens.
I’m a volunteer writer for the NGS, and was lucky enough to attend the 90th Anniversary celebration and 2017 book launch. Amazingly, the charity has hit record levels of donations and open gardens in the past year, with £3 million raised, 4,000 garden owners opening their green space to the public, and 380 county volunteers helping to coordinate the scheme. Since being founded in 1927, the NGS has raised money for nursing charities including MacMillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Hospice UK – which will each receive an astonishing £500,000 each from the NGS in 2017.
Despite its impressive heritage the NGS is evolving with the times, and this year launches new branding to increase awareness, garden visits and ultimately raise even more money for the worthy causes. The organisation has a new logo and overhauled mobile friendly website, yet continues to adhere to its true values: changing lives, generosity, community, quality and eccentric British charm!
In 2016 a new report was published – Gardens and Health: Implications for Policy and Practice. Produced by The King’s Fund, the report outlines the benefits of gardens for people’s health and wellbeing. This year, the NGS, its benefactors and the garden press will join forces to spread this message, and work to arrange garden visits for those who would not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy the health benefits of green space.
I’m a huge advocate of the positive effects of nature and influence on health and wellbeing, and continue to fly the flag through this blog encouraging professionals in the city to embrace the tiniest of green spaces to get some headspace from the stresses of corporate jobs and city living. As is the case with most things garden-related, very few of my peers are aware of the NGS. At the same time, they’re part of a demographic with limited or no garden of their own, so the open gardens around the UK – especially city and suburban spaces – could be the perfect antidote to the concrete jungle. This year it will be my mission to make more millennials aware of the NGS, in support of its cause and the power of green space.
Find out more and start planning your visits here: https://www.ngs.org.uk/
London based? Check out these gardens over the next few months…
1.The Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square, London, London, EC1M 6AN
Get your dose of classic British garden at this closed courtyard space dating back to 1347. Complete with classically British roses, herbaceous borders, ancient mulberry trees and even a small pond.
2. Spitalfields Gardens, London, London, E1 6QH
If you thought Spitalfields was only about craft beers and edgy clothing you’re wrong. A collection of magical hidden gardens behind the historic houses of Spitalfields – corners of London you’ve never seen!
3. Lambeth Palace, Lambeth Palace Rd, London, London, SE1 7JU
iPhones down, spend a lazy afternoon strolling around the largest private gardens in London, occupied by Archbishops of Canterbury since 1197.
4. The Inner and Middle Temple Gardens, Crown Office Row, Inner Temple, London, London, EC4Y 7HL
Think you know the city? Few are aware of this hidden gem behind Fleet Street. Sweeping lawns, woodland and courtyard gardens await!
5. Arlington Square Gardens, London, London, N1 7DP
London is connecting living at its best, but never demonstrated better than with this collection of community 10 gardens, each offering distinct style and charm.