How to get involved in the National Garden Scheme in Cheshire for 2013

PUBLISHED: 21:48 15 April 2013 | UPDATED: 21:48 15 April 2013

Hatton House Gardens

Hatton House Gardens

not Archant

Private gardens in Cheshire are among those throwing open their gates to the public thanks to the National Gardens Scheme. Now in its 86th year, the NGS offers a chance to see something different while raising money for charity.

Spring is officially here. Bare trees and shrubs are giving way to riotous bursts of colour across our county. And tucked away in all corners of Cheshire, private gardens are opening up to the public for a few special days under the National Gardens Scheme in April and the summer months.

More than 3,800 gardens in England and Wales now open as part of the scheme, with many garden owners also offering homemade afternoon teas to make a visit even more enjoyable. Margaret and Michael Bourne of Long Acre in Bunbury are now in their 14th year of the scheme. Margaret said: ‘I got involved by being nosey and visiting other people’s gardens. It’s a lovely way to spend a Sunday: drinking tea in someone else’s garden.’

In the last 15 years, the National Gardens Scheme has donated more than £25 million to nursing, caring and gardening charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Alzheimer’s Society. Last year alone, £2.6 million was raised from the garden openings across England and Wales.

In Cheshire, the gardens vary greatly, from small, hidden-away gems in quaint villages, to large National Trust-owned gardens like Tatton Park. From relaxing and peaceful gardens you can spend the afternoon meandering through, to exotic, bright and vivid spaces which fill and excite the senses. Sue Beesley of Bluebell Cottage Gardens at Dutton has been part of the NGS for six years. ‘Our garden isn’t particularly big, but it’s the perfect garden to linger in. You can wander and enjoy it from different angles, see the details and notice the birds singing.’

June Lancelyn Green of Poulton Hall, Bebington, Wirral, is an NGS veteran, now entering her 40th year: ‘My garden started as a memorial to my late husband (British biographer and children’s writer Roger Lancelyn Green), so it’s full of things that matter to him and the things he wrote about. The scheme enables people to see things they wouldn’t usually get to see.’

It is clear all the gardeners and owners have a passion for their horticultural habits and love sharing this dedication. Some do it simply for the love of plants, others are professional gardeners and others work with teams to ensure their gardens are perfected for visitors in April and the summer months. Jane Fairclough of Parm Place, Great Budworth, said: ‘I never thought I would get so addicted to gardening. It’s a great opportunity to raise money for charity. But also, one of the main reasons we do the NGS is because the people that visit our garden are so nice.’

The gardens are officially open under the scheme for a couple of days in the year, but visitors can book appointments for some gardens at other times. For a small period of time each year, the secret gardens of Cheshire are a little less secret.

Some National Gardens Scheme April openings in Cheshire

For full details, visit the NGS website: www.NGS.org.uk

Abbeywood

Chester Road, Delamere, Northwich, CW8 2HS. The Rowlinson family. 01606 301374. AbbeywoodGardensCheshire.co.uk

Best thing to see in April: A garden with great continuity throughout the year. There isn’t a time that there isn’t something to discover and admire.

NGS opening times: 28 April, 21 July

Bluebell Cottage Gardens

Lodge Lane, Dutton, Cheshire, WA4 4HP. Sue and David Beesley. 01928 713718. BluebellCottage.co.uk

Best thing to see in April: Wander around the bluebell woods and see an array of pulsatilla in full flower.

NGS opening times: 21 April, 26 August

Briarfield

The Rake, Burton, Neston, Wirral, CH64 5TL. Liz Carter. 0151 336 2304. Carter.burton@virgin.net

Best thing to see in April: The alpine beds are at their peak and carpets of flowers, including erythroniums and trilliums are found beneath flowering trees and shrubs.

NGS opening times: 14 April (and other times by appointment)

Hatton House

Hatton Heath, near Chester, CH3 9AP. Roger Robinson (head gardener) 07967 654817. BaseBotanics@hotmail.com

Best thing to see in April: Formal lawns and herbaceous borders give access to the lake, with walks through woodland with follies, bog gardens and more.

NGS opening times: 27 April, 15 June

Long Acre

Wyche Lane, Bunbury, Cheshire, CW6 9PS. Margaret and Michael Bourne. 01829 260944. MJBourne249@tiscali.co.uk

Best thing to see in April: A greenhouse bursting with fabulously colourful clivia in spring.

NGS opening times: 21 April, 16 June (and other times by appointment)

Parm Place

High Street, Great Budworth, Cheshire, CW9 6HF. Peter and Jane Fairclough. 01606 891131. JaneFair@btinternet.com

Best thing to see in April: The Fairclough garden is very pretty at this time of year, with perennial borders and colour scenes to admire.

NGS opening times: 7 April, 30 June (and other times by appointment).

Poulton Hall

Poulton Lancelyn, Bebington, Wirral, CH63 9LN. The Lancelyn Green family. 0151 334 2057. JLGPoulton@talktalk.netBest thing to see in April: Experience the world of literature and magic, meeting the world of gardening. Discover the grin of the Cheshire Cat or a carving of King Arthur.

NGS opening times: 13-14 April, 16 June (and other times by appointment).

Saighton Grange

Saighton, near Chester, CH3 6EN. The Governors of Abbey Gate College. 01244 564 184. Alan.Kift@abbeygatecollege.co.uk

Best thing to see in April: The garden is a riot of colour with magnolias, daffodils and a bluebell woodland walk.

NGS opening times: 14 April (and other times by appointment).

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