Raising money for nursing and caring charities, the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) pairs a passion for all things gardening, tea and cake with the intrigue and curiosity of what happens on the other side of the fence. Ranging from cosy inner-city retreats to grand Capability Brown landscapes, in 2016 over 3,800 gardens opened their gates for the scheme.
The NGS calendar opens with the Snowdrop Festival in February, and remains in bloom throughout the year, finishing with a celebration of autumn colour. Festival weekend invites the public to celebrate the Great British Garden every year, with over 400 gardens opening over the weekend; whilst events such as the opening of Frogmore gardens, tulip season and late-summer flowering gardens ensure there’s always a great day to be had with the National Gardens Scheme.
Having donated over £45 million to its beneficiaries; that includes Macmillan, Marie Cure and the Queen’s Nursing Institute, the National Gardens Scheme is a great champion of nursing and caring charities across Great Britain. To find a garden opening for the NGS near you, or for more information on the National Gardens Scheme, visit the website here. www.ngs.org.uk
March 2018 Update
The National Garden Scheme has announced a record donation of £3.1 million from funds raised at garden openings in 2017 – a figure which has nearly doubled in ten years (£1.6million donated in 2008) and now brings the total donated to beneficiary charities since NGS was founded in 1927 to some £55million.
Beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie and Hospice UK, who each receive £500,000 from funds raised in 2017. Annual donations continue to Carers Trust, Queen’s Nursing Institute, Parkinson’s UK and Perennial, as well as MS Society, which is NGS’ guest charity for the third and final year.
Donations to charities who are actively promoting the health benefits of gardens have been increased this year. They include two new beneficiaries, Leonard Cheshire and Maggie’s Centres.
Over £190,000 has also been donated to projects that support training gardeners – such as those at ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and the Professional Gardener’s Trust.
The donation of £500,000 to Macmillan Cancer Support marks an ambitious partnership to fund a new specialist cancer care unit at Y Bwthyn in South Wales. The NGS is Macmillan Cancer Support’s largest single donor, having donated nearly £17million since the partnership began in 1985. The new unit is set to open in 2019.
George Plumptre, CEO of National Garden Scheme, said:
“It’s been another record breaking year for the National Garden Scheme and we are extremely pleased to be able to fund even more vital work in the areas that we are passionate about – nursing, gardens and health, and support for training gardeners. Nursing has never needed our support more than at the moment and I am delighted that some of our funding is continuing to support special training and career development for a variety of nurses.
“The National Garden Scheme is hugely grateful for everything our garden owners and volunteers have done in 2017. They have worked tirelessly to open their exceptional gardens to the public and provide delicious tea and cake to thousands of visitors, who in turn generously support the National Garden Scheme, come rain or shine!”
*Quotes from beneficiary charities
In 2017 over 3,600 gardens opened to the public across Britain, raising money through entry fees, teas and cake. In 2018, even more garden openings are scheduled – all of which can be found in the newly published Garden Visitor’s Handbook 2018, available via the NGS shop and at all good book retailers.
January 2017 Update
National Gardens Scheme – Gardens to visit during March and April
Below is a list of NGS Gardens open for visitors during March and April 2017:
Oak Cottage, Welshpool, SY21 7JP
Sunday 19 March, Sunday 16 April, Monday 17 April, Sunday 30 April, Monday 1 May (2-5pm).
Adm £3.50 Chd free
Maesfron Hall and Gardens, Trewern, Nr Welshpool, SY21 8EA
Sunday 9 April (2-5pm)
Adm £5 Chd free
The Crystal Garden, Golwg yr Ynys, Nr St Davids, SA62 6XT
Sunday 16 & Monday 17 April (1-5pm)
Adm £3 Chd free
Woodlands Farm and The Old Vicarage, Penrhos, NP15 2LE
Sunday 23 April (2-6pm)
Comb adm £6.50 Chd free
Cartref, Nr Arddleen, SY22 6QL
Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April 1-4.30pm
Adm £3 Chd free
Fraithwen, Tregynon, SY16 3EW
Sunday 30 April 2-5pm
Adm £3.50. Chd free
The following gardens are open in April by arrangement please ring the owner to arrange your visit:
Abernant, Garthmyl, SY15 6RZ
Visitors welcome by arrangement
April – July
Tel: 01686 640494
Arnant House, Nr Aberaeron, SA46 0HF
Visitors welcome by arrangement
April – August Adm £3.50 chd free
Tel: 01545 580083
October 2016 Update
National Gardens Scheme (NGS) have created a new partnership between the GardenTags social network and Perennial aiming to raise the profile of both charities among the 50,000+ users of the new gardening community app and builds on the strong existing relationship between Perennial and the NGS. Donations from the NGS over the past 30 years have allowed Perennial to help thousands of horticulturists whose lives have reached crisis point. The NGS is Perennial’s largest single donor and its contribution of £150,000 last year represented a significant proportion of voluntary income to the charity.
The new GardenTags partnership will help spread the message even wider about NGS open gardens
and the role Perennial plays in supporting all those who work in horticulture. Gardeners using the
app have access to an audience of over 50,000 people passionate about gardening and who share
gardening tips and advice on a daily basis.
The app allows users to follow and communicate with other gardeners involved with the NGS and
Perennial, like Geoff Stonebanks of Driftwood garden who has long been a supporter of both
charities. The partnership will also help raise awareness of the National Gardens Scheme and
Perennial’s charitable impact amongst a targeted and fast growing audience of gardeners.
Laura Garnett, Development Manager at Perennial, says:
“This new partnership is exciting on so many levels. It strengthens our existing relationship
with, and support of, the NGS and the incredible network of passionate gardeners who open
their gardens for charity each year. It gives us access to a new audience of gardeners helping us
spread the word about Perennial’s services, particularly among the self-employed who we find
it so hard to reach. Plus, it offers us all the opportunity to work together, as a gardening
community, to promote the health benefits of gardening and the importance of keeping our
green spaces, and all those who care for them, fit and well.”
Daniel Richards, Co-Founder, GardenTags, says;
“We’re excited to welcome the NGS and Perennial to GardenTags, both are charities that live
in the hearts of the gardening public and share our philosophy that gardening should be
accessible for all. We believe GardenTags will become an important channel for both charities
to further raise awareness of their impact amongst a targeted group of enthusiastic gardeners.
I’m sure the passionate gardeners involved with the NGS and Perennial will also inspire our
existing community members and broaden their planting horizons.”
“The National Gardens Scheme is excited to be a part of a new network of gardeners on the
GardenTags app. Digital communication is already proving to be vibrant in the gardening
community and this will be a great way for our three organisations to grow this together.”
For more information about GardenTags and to find out how to join this growing community of
passionate gardeners, visit: gardentags.com
On mobile devices, with the app installed, you can view Perennial’s GardenTags profile and the
National Gardens Scheme profile.
For more information about the National Gardens Scheme www.ngs.org.uk
The history of The National Gardens Scheme
The National Gardens Scheme has a rich and interesting history that is closely connected with nursing in the UK.
William Rathbone, a Liverpool merchant, employed a nurse to care for his wife at home. After his wife’s death, Rathbone kept the nurse on to help poor people in the neighbourhood. Later, Rathbone raised funds for the recruitment, training and employment of nurses to go into the deprived areas of the city.
Late Nineteenth Century
Based on the idea of local nursing set up by Rathbone, `District` nursing spread across the country. With support from Florence Nightingale and Queen Victoria, the movement became a national voluntary organisation setting standards and training nurses.
The organisation decided to raise a special fund in memory of their patron, Queen Alexandra, who had recently died. The fund would pay for training and would also support nurses who were retiring. A council member, Miss Elsie Wagg, came up with the idea of raising money for charity through the nation’s obsession with gardening, by asking people to open their gardens to visitors and charging a modest entry fee that would be donated.
The National Gardens Scheme was founded. Individuals were asked to open up their gardens for ‘a shilling a head’. In the first year 609 gardens raised over £8,000. A year later, the district nursing organisation became officially named the Queen’s Nursing Institute.
By now a network of volunteer County Organisers had been set up and over 1,000 private gardens were open. Country Life magazine produced a handbook that would become known as ‘The Yellow Book’ because of its bright cover.
After the Second World War, the National Health Service took on the District Nursing Service, but money was still needed to care for retired nurses and invest in training. The National Gardens Scheme offered to donate funding to the National Trust to restore and preserve important gardens. In return, the National Trust opened many of its most prestigious gardens for the NGS.
The National Gardens Scheme Charitable Trust was established as an independent charity.
Macmillan Cancer Support joined the list of beneficiary charities. In 1996 Marie Curie (formerly Marie Curie Cancer Care), Help the Hospices and Crossroads (now Carers Trust) also became beneficiary charities.
Since 2010, a different annual ‘guest’ charity has been chosen from recommendations from NGS volunteers.
The Yellow Book is renamed ‘Gardens To Visit’.
Since its foundation, the National Gardens Scheme has donated over £45 million to its beneficiary charities, of which nearly £23 million has been donated within the last ten years. The National Gardens Scheme’s commitment to nursing and caring remains constant, and the charity continues to grow and flourish.