Sunday 3 August 2014

We need you! Open YOUR garden for the National Gardens Scheme!

Time is running out for anyone considering whether or not they want to open their garden for the National Gardens Scheme in 2015 as the deadline for recommendations and getting your Yellow Book entry together is mid September.  We need more people to open their gardens, as the more gardens that open the more money we can raise for charity and the stronger the NGS will get.

Overall I have loved opening for the NGS and on September 7th I will open for the fourth year however we need more gardens to open in London! So if you are thinking about it, or if you think your friend has a great garden please do come forward!

But, if you are unsure here are my top 5 reasons why opening your garden is a good thing...

1) Together we can raise lots of money for some great charities: Last year people opening their gardens for the NGS raised £2.1 million for the different charities it supports including Macmillian, Marie Curie help the Hospices  and many others

2) It’s fun and like a giant party!: I love my opening as suddenly there are lots of like minded people in the garden who are interested in it. Time tends to pass like a whirl and it is great to meet lots of different people and have a fun afternoon

3) It helps get things done: gardens are often full of lots of little jobs that need finishing off, or projects that need to be done. Opening for the NGS helps you move forward with things and get the garden to be the best it can be.

4) The NGS helps make it easy: Opening as part of the NGS makes things easy as they cover you for insurance, give you materials to help promote your garden and you are generally promoted as part of being in the Yellow Book. You also have a national team to support you and people like me as area organisers

5) Recognition: Being part of the Yellow Book is a great achievement and does bring recognition to what can be a solitary pursuit

Does your garden have to be perfect? No! Gardens do have to be of a certain standard; however we are not talking about oppressive horticulture and within the NGS family there are some very different gardens and a few that intimidate me. Is anyone’s garden perfect?!

Do you have to have 45 minutes of interest for visitors?: In London gardens are a lot smaller so you do not have to have vast acres of space....the smallest I have visited was probably 10meters square, the key thing is to have a garden which is well kept and of interest to visitors. If you are worried about the size you can always put your gardens dimensions in your write up so people know what they are coming to.

Do you have to put on refreshments? Providing tea and cake is a great way to make more money for charity and bring in additional visitors, but not essential... refreshments are made much easier by asking friends to help out and make cakes.

Want a non committal chat to find out more? All across London there are volunteers like me who are area coordinators whose role is to help look after local openers and support new people to open their gardens. If you may potentially be interested but would like someone else to have a look round and talk through the ins and outs please get in touch by emailing me (you can see my email in the about me section) and I can put you in touch with your local coordinator. or go through NGS HQ more details here

So if you are in England please do think about opening, we need more gardens! 


  1. Your garden looks very interesting - I wish I lived near enough to visit you on your next Open Day.
    We are doing our bit and are opening for the second time next June for the NGS. I agree with every point you raise, and would add, from a personal point of view, that it is a great learning experience, in that the visitors often pass on pearls of wisdom !

    1. Good tip! and good luck for June, the second time is so much easier than the first!!!

  2. Its something I would really love to do, but sadly won't be able too as a) the garden is so small, b) access is round via a neighbour. So instead I open with our village 'Open Gardens' raising money for the church and the air ambulance.

    1. Its a good way to do it! opening with others always makes it easier...your garden is also looking fabulous!