In 1927 someone had the bright idea of persuading people to open their garden for charity for a shilling entrance fee. Last year this little scheme raised over £1.8 million for various
charities, notably Macmillan Cancer Relief and Marie Curie Cancer Care. This year more than 3,500 gardens in England and Wales will participate, from tiny town courtyards to
splendid mansion parks like Titsey Place, and all sizes in between. Garden visiting on Sunday afternoons has become a regular pastime for many; the lure of a cup of tea and home made
cakes is added incentive in many cases, but the knowledge that you are supporting charity at the same time salves your conscience!
The Scheme is organised by county, and the comprehensive Yellow Booklists these 3,500 gardens, telling you a little about each, providing directions on how to
get there, opening dates and so forth. It is available at the Limpsfield Bookshop. Gardens open in individual counties such as Kent and Surrey are often published separately in
booklet form. Alternatively, the excellent website has all this information plus fuller descriptions of most gardens.
Local NGS gardens include Mr & Mrs Richins’ fascinating “Chauffeurs Flat” at Tandridge and Mr & Mrs Trott’€s garden at Odstock, Castle Square in
Bletchingley. A new addition is Mr & Mrs Roulston's Chardleigh Cottage, Pains Hill, Limpsfield.
Of course, Oxted has its annual variation on the theme €the Oxted One World Group has Six Gardens, which has successfully operated for several years on the Spring Bank Holiday, and has become a
much-looked-forward-to horticultural (and social!) event. Every Sunday (and many other days too) in most months of the year someone, somewhere, is inviting us to visit their garden.
Arden Lodge garden is no longer open to the public. However, there are many others to visit in the area and some are open in the winter. For details go to www.ngs.org.uk