The Harvey’s have been opening the garden at Lower House for several years now but some of their visitors are unaware of the many charities that benefit from their kind support both by paying an entrance fee and by enjoying the tea and cakes that they try to make appealing so they can raise even more for the charities.

In 2023 the scheme raised over £4 million for the first time. Donations are made to the regular beneficiaries, many of whom rely on those hefty donations as the NGS are their largest supporters, these includes Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie and Hospice UK, they each received £450,000 last year as did The Queen’s Nursing Institute which founded the National Garden Scheme in 1927 to raise money to care for people in their own homes. The Carers Trust and Parkinson’s UK make up the Nursing and Health Beneficiaries group.

Living in an area surrounded by accessible and beautiful open countryside we are all aware of the benefits and strength that can be obtained by access to open spaces and annual donations are made to specific gardens and health projects. Maggie’s Centres, Horatio’s Gardens and the Army Benevolent Fund have been enduring commitments but last year donations were also made to Mencap, Sue Ryder and Thrive for specific gardens with a direct health benefit for people.

To help support gardeners and gardening apprenticeships continued support goes to English Heritage, Perennial, Professional Gardeners’ Trust, National Botanic Garden of Wales and Garden Museum. In recent years Community Garden projects have made an impressive impact on diverse communities all over the country and in 2023 support was given to 86 different projects.

Last year here at Lower House, they were able to raise over £4,000 with our open days and small group visits all thanks to our kind friends and neighbours who made cakes and helped dish out hospitality of some kind or other. Without the expertise of their gardeners nobody would be interested in visiting. They are the stars of the show.

This year they will be opening on Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th April. Please go and join them and know that by your presence you are helping others and that will make a difference.