The British tend to be avid garden lovers, and many of the world’s best and most famous gardens can be discovered in the UK. The temperate and wet conditions make for ideal growing conditions, and helps ensure that both visiting and tending gardens are some of Britain’s most popular pastimes.
Many British towns contain at least a couple of gardens that visitors would enjoy looking around. The delight of gardening comes with the variety; each plant fares slightly differently depending on the local soil, shelter and climate conditions, and the aspect of the planting can make a vast difference to the final presentation.
The National Garden Scheme
While an all year opening is neither practical or desirable for many smaller garden owners, the long running National Garden Scheme allows many proud gardeners the opportunity to show off their skills for a couple of days each year.
Many of the open days coincide with British summer bank holidays, and the proceeds go to charity. Last year, over 500,000 visitors had the opportunity to admire over 3,500 gardens and in the process donated over £2m to charity.
Many of the gardens offer light refreshments, such as tea, coffee, lemonade and sandwiches or a traditional scone, jam and cream tea. It’s a great way to take a step back in time and enjoy an age old British tradition in beautiful surroundings.
The National Garden Scheme Website
A quick look at the National Garden Scheme website demonstrates the huge variety of gardens on offer right across the country, from Cornwall to the North of Scotland.
The choice is immense; there are gardens surrounding wonderfully practical and beautiful Arts and Craft Movement houses, grand estate gardens, alongside gardens of standard cottages and terrace houses.
While many of the gardens are mixed flowers, some in the scheme focus on growing soft fruit and vegetables, while others are organic, alpine or even fern. Likewise, there are a variety of open dates throughout the spring and summer, although many gardens are only open for a day or two each year, without prior appointment.
One of the National Garden Scheme open days is at Cefntilla near Usk in Monmouthshire, South Wales. Here you might even be lucky enough to be greeted by a real life Baron; the Baron Raglan although in his 80’s still often greets visitors to his beautiful garden!
The National Garden Scheme website is very user friendly, and allows visitors to access details about each of the gardens in the scheme, and scan the available gardens using date, area, or specific garden name.
If you are a garden lover and find yourself with a summer day or two to spare in the United Kingdom, then why not take a look at the official website for ideas.