National Garden Scheme Open Day 2023
The National Garden Scheme was founded in the 1900’s with the goal of “opening gardens of quality, character and interest to the public” initially funds were raised to support district nursing. In the first year 609 gardens opened and raised £8,191. After the National Health Service was established this support was less essential and in 1980 it became and independent charity, The National Garden Scheme Charitable Trust supporting a range of charities.
Gardening is a hugely popular British pastime appealing to a wide demographic and increasingly so to a younger audience. It is no surprise that in 2022 the number of open gardens ran into thousands and £3.11 million was raised for the beneficiary charities. This year 1,011 gardens will be opening their gates to visitors and Whatley are delighted to have been amongst that number.
Whatley has been participating in the National Garden Scheme for many years and it is a day the garden team look forward to in the calendar and they work towards ensuring that all of the 26 garden rooms are looking their best.
This year’s event on June 7th happily coincided with the first warm sunny spell of the summer and we welcomed nearly 200 visitors. On the day guests were able to chat to the garden team sharing knowledge and top tips, covering everything from rose growing to the kitchen garden and composting. There was some excellent garden chat with knowledge being exchanged both ways, from our guests to the team and vice versa, the gardening community are very generous with their shared wisdom.
Our visitors included keen gardeners, dedicated horticulturists and those who simply enjoy the beauty of a well managed garden. Visitors were especially interested to learn how the team manage the gardens in line with the hotels sustainability commitments. There were lots of questions on how we encourage biodiversity; no dig gardening and our compost bins were a hot topic too.
The open day provides the opportunity to spend an afternoon ambling through all 12 acres of Whatley’s gardens, wild meadow and kitchen garden. Visitors can take time to explore and discover their favourite area, find a quiet spot to sit and admire the views and of course, as you would expect in an English country garden there was tea and cake too.
With plants and posies to purchase on departure lots of guests also took a little bit of Whatley home with them. All in all it was a really wonderful day reminding us how glorious time outside in nature is, the joy of shared gardening enthusiasm and raising money for some exceptional charities.
This year’s National Garden Scheme open day was once again a great success.
Thank you to everyone that attended, to the Whatley garden team for making the day so special and everyone that helped, here’s to next year!