What could be better than spending a summer afternoon in a lovely setting with cake on offer and chance to buy plants grown locally? That’s what’s behind the National Garden Scheme – and it’s how more than £67m has been raised since it began in 1927.
How do we do it? The NGS persuades owners of lovely gardens to open them to the public, charge an admission fee, and thousands of visitors enjoy them. Going alongside lovely gardens are our afternoon teas – we’re famous for delicious cakes – Mary Berry is our President – and plant sales are a very popular feature of many openings. Entrance for children is usually free. It all makes for a good value afternoon in the outdoors.
Because the scheme is run overwhelmingly by our volunteers – owners, gardeners, organisers, bakers, tea makers, servers – the list goes on – over 80% of the money raised is donated to beneficiaries – health charities such as Macmillan, Marie Curie and Hospice UK, amongst others. In 2022 this amounted to £3.11m.
And the huge £105k raised here in the North East in 2022 is testament to the legendary generosity of people here.
The NGS is passionate about the physical and mental health benefits of gardens too, giving £176k last year to community projects promoting gardens and gardening as therapy.
In the North East, eight community grants were given for a range of projects such as improving allotments, food bank gardens, and helping establish spaces for people to gain the social and mental benefits of working together in the outdoors.
We are proud to say we have a huge range of fabulous gardens – from the great country houses such as Fallodon Hall, to the suburban. All styles – formal, cottage, meadow, tropical themed and more. There are some that have opened since 1927, and regular new additions. Not all grand but all with their own charm – all with something to interest and inspire. Visit our website for more info www.ngs.org.uk.
Visitors enjoy all kinds of lovely gardens – size doesn’t really matter. It’s more important that they are interesting with a range of planting and/or features and people love seeing how they can use ideas in their own gardens. And visitors – often but not always gardeners themselves – love talking to gardeners.
We’re always looking for gardens to add to our list of openings and raise the money much needed by our beneficiaries. So if you would like to open your garden or know of any owners of lovely gardens who’d be interested in sharing their passion, please let me know or pass on my contact details ( for 2024 we need to know by the end of September) or if you have any questions email me email@example.com.