With a story dating back to 1859, The National Garden Scheme has a rich and interesting history. Following an idea of ‘district nursing’ from William Rathbone and Florence Nightingale, the Queen’s Nursing Institute was founded in 1887. After years of coordinating national standards for district nurses and establishing training homes, supervising centres and branches where necessary, funding was unsurprisingly needed. Then in 1926 at a QNI meeting, a council member suggested raising money through the nation’s obsession with gardening and a year later, the National Garden Scheme was founded. By 1930, there were 900 gardens open for the National Scheme, including Winston Churchill’s.
Now, there are over 3,500 breathtaking private gardens opening for charity across England and Wales with The National Garden Scheme, donating millions of pounds to nursing and health charities over 90 years.
Here are five in and around London that have caught our attention…
33 Wood Vale
This 100m long garden in Highgate is not only home to the Corokia National Collection but also boasts a variety of unusual Australasian, Mediterranean and exotic plants accompanied by a large selection of perennials and grasses. Impressively, the 250 tons of topsoil, compost and gravel were all brought in by wheelbarrow!
When: The next Open Garden is Sunday 1st September, other days by appointment also available.
Price: £3.50 admission
For more information: Wood Vale
58A Teignmouth Road
With both front and back gardens on show, you will be able to pick up some inspiration from the colour coordinated beds, pergola, ponds and over 40 clematis types. This previous winner of Silver in the London in Bloom Fresh Air awards also boasts a 3½ ton tank for a rainwater harvesting system that feeds water and taps around the garden.
When: The next Open Garden Sunday 15th September, other days by appointment also available.
Price: £4.00 admission
For more information: Teignmouth Road
A beautiful courtyard garden set in the grounds of the historic Charterhouse. A building which has been around since 1348 and serving as a monastery, a private mansion, a boys school and finally an almshouse in this time, its gardens have been at the heart of everything. Only recently opening it’s gates to the public in 2017, and with a classic English country garden style featuring roses, herbaceous borders, ancient mulberry trees and a small pond, there is certainly a lot to look at.
When: 15th August (with a second on 12th September) 5.30pm – 8.30pm with informal BBQ and drinks.
For more information: The Charterhouse
Located in the village of Harefield, this 17th Century Renaissance walled garden includes a traditional organic kitchen garden, 56 geometrically arranged raised beds, herbaceous borders, alpines, herbs and an orchard with a rare arcaded wall dating back to the 1600’s.
When: Bank Holiday Monday 26th August 2 – 5pm
Price: £5 adults, £2 children
When: Saturday 7th September 2 – 4pm – Open Guided Tour Day (please book in advance)
Price: £10 per person (inc entrance, tour & refreshments)
For more information: Church Gardens
The Garden Museum
Featuring a brand new cafe, Britain’s only Museum of Gardens re-opened in Spring 2017 following refurbishment. Whether you are an amateur gardener, specialist or someone with a passion for museums, history or architecture, the Garden Museum has something for you.
When: Open Daily 10:30 – 5pm
Price: From £5, see website for more information
More Info: The Garden Museum
Images: Mona Abboud, Church Gardens, Claire Davies, Jim Coakes, The Garden Museum