Friday, 22 May 2009
One of the great aspects of an English summer (when it gets here) is the gardens that you can visit and one of the best-organised garden visit programmes is the National Gardens Scheme - an ambitious open-garden programme that operates nationwide to allow the public into gardens that are not normally open to prying eyes. For a small fee, that goes to one of the leading cancer care charities, you can wander at leisure through private gardens and admire the work of others and wonder why you didn't think of doing that in your own green space.
The only slight problem with this scheme is the English weather, because many of the gardens only open their doors on one or two days a year and if the weather is bad on that day, you're unlikely to visit and there are rarely alternative arrangements in place. The other slight disadvantage is that the NGS is now so well known that you can turn up to visit a garden and find that you cannot park because it is so popular; cannot move when you get inside; and if like me, you want to take photographs, you won't be able to see the garden or the plants because they are hidden from view by clucking enthusiasts!
But, don't be put off by this because there are some gardens that are too good to miss - like Copyhold Hollow in Sussex - a charming 2-acre woodland garden surrounding a 16th century listed house that looks just like something out of a Harry Potter movie - one feels that Ron Weasel and his family might just appear at any time!
Copyhold is just near Borde Hill outside Haywards Heath, so you might want to combine a visit to the two. To find out more about NGS openings check out their own website and search through their garden listings - they have a good search engine which will give you open dates near a selected postcode. Happy searching!