Sunday, 12 July 2009

Garden Gadabout - a great way of raising funds!

Regular readers will know that I often visit two or three gardens in a day when I am out and about, but today I turned from "Galloping"to "Gadabout" Gardener on a wonderful tour of local gardens in Brighton, England. This scheme really appealed to me (and judging by the numbers of visitors at the gardens, it did to other garden fanatics too!) and it may well be something that like-minded gardeners want to try back home.

The formula is simple (although it does take some organisation!) and is an open garden scheme raising funds for charity. Private garden owners open their patch for a couple of consecutive Sundays and charge a £1.00 (($1.60 approx) entrance fee on the gate. The proceeds all go to a selected charity; the visitors get to satisfy their curiosity about other people's gardens; there are often plants for sale; but most importantly, this is a wonderful way of looking at the ingenuity of other gardeners; seeing new planting schemes; and realising that what you do at home is just as interesting to a garden audience as visiting many of the wonderful commercial gardens that open to the public.

The gardens I saw today were filled with novel ideas - like the wellington-boot planting (above); the fish sculptures (above and below left); and many different and original planting schemes that made small gardens feel like jungles, meadows or wide-open spaces, even though many of the gardens are in the middle of a town or city!

As we all know, each garden owner has their own vision of the way their plot should look and this scheme enables inquisitive garden lovers to attend a banquet, serving up innovative ideas, originality and charm.

The scheme in and around Brighton has been running for over 15 years and this year sees more than 70 gardens opening to raise funds for The Sussex Beacon - a purpose-built clinical care centre for men and women living with HIV. None of the gardens would normally be open to the public, and this is a great way of getting behind the scenes!

The Garden Gadabout scheme is masterminded by Bridgette Saunders, who opens her own remarkable garden for the event. Don't miss this one!! It is a joy and delight and when I heard a five-year old boy telling his mum that this was "just the best garden ever", my heart lifted! He was, of course, quite right because Bridgette's garden is fantastic.

This year's open garden scheme continues next Sunday, 19th July. There is a brochure listing all the open gardens, which are grouped into areas and means that you can plan your visits to cover Brighton and Hove, as well as other outlying areas including Rottingdean, Lewes and Seaford, to name just a few. The brochure includes maps and full details of the gardens that are open. Advance tickets are also available from The Dome Box Office in Brighton (tel: 01273 709709), costing £6 for the whole day, and giving you unlimited access to all the gardens in the scheme.

What really impressed me about today was the enthusiasm of all the people visiting the gardens and the way the owners engaged with their visitors - all the gardens I visited, large and small were remarkable in their own way; the owners were delightful and happy to answer questions; the sun was shining; and for me it made one of the best "Galloping Gardener" tours so far this year.

13 comments:

  1. Great idea - will you be including your garden one year?

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  2. Of course, but for my hospital in India:
    http://theravenfoundation.blogspot.com/

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  3. I've seen another town that does this but can't remember where. Typical! And I think a few years ago Falmouth had an open garden month combined with open studios. I know it was very interesting but at the time I saw more studios because that was what I was into! Think, we could be doing this up and down the country! Val

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  4. Hi Charlotte, this is indeed a wonderful way to raise funds for charity and see the gardens of other like minded folks. We have been to several in the various places we have lived and always loved seeing the different styles. But our favorite thing was always chatting with the owners and hearing their stories of how the gardens began. So compelling. :-)
    Frances

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  5. Hi Charlotte, Perfect weather for a peek at the masterpieces of fellow gardeners. Does it get any better? Ah, yes, in fact. All proceeds go to charity. Fantastic idea.

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  6. Lovely idea.... just like an art gallery raising fund .. now a garden gallery. It stimulates FUN and raises FUND!!... It really sparks some ideas.

    ~ bangchik

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  7. Those fish sculptures makes me feel that the garden in underwater. Is a unique ornament. I love it! Happy Monday.

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  8. Garden visiting with the National garden scheme is something I really need to do more of. The gardens are wonderful but the people are special too.

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  9. I love Brighton. I had a wonderful chance to live there for a year and this post makes me want to visit again. What a great idea, and so simple. Thanks for this post.

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  10. This is a wonderful idea, perhaps we could use this idea next Spring to benefit a local charity here in Florida.
    Thanks : )

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  11. Sorry... I wrote a comment earlier but something happened as I did it and I didn't realise it didn't get through. This sounds a great idea for the communities. I am thinking the yellow book isn't involved with this?

    To my knowledge this isn't done in Scotland, not in a regional level anyway. Odd towns will do this. Ours did it many years ago and we took part. I was great fun and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone that came through the garden gate :-D

    Thanks for sharing your visit, perhaps other places might get ideas now :-D

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  12. Sorry... I wrote a comment earlier but something happened as I did and didn't realise it didn't get through. This sounds a great idea for the communities. I am thinking the yellow book isn't involved with this?

    To my knowledge this isn't done in Scotland, not in a regional level anyway. Odd towns will do this. Ours did it many years ago and we took part. I was great fun and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone that came through the garden gate :-D

    Thanks for sharing your visit perhaps other areas of the country may get ideas from this :-D

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  13. What a WONDERFUL idea and delight! I always get so many fun ideas from you and I love the gardening pictures you share. I hope you were able to raise a good amount of funds! Good luck! And BTW, I wanted to let you know that I purchased my own domain name and am officially a dot com. So change your reader to www.GardeningWithMissDaisy.com. I hope to continue to see you around.

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