Open Garden scheme offering a bumper weekend around Cambridgeshire
A property once the home of the renowned landscape designer, Capability Brown, will open under the National Garden Scheme on the weekend of May 28-29, one of the busiest weekends of the year for garden visiting.
The garden of The Manor House, Fenstanton, features two 300-year-old apple trees purchased by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, widely regarded as the 18th-century’s finest gardener and landscape architect.
The garden has been restored by its present owners in a formal style designed around a series of rooms with pleached limes, an avenue of Himalayan birch and cottage planting to borders.
It forms part of ‘Fenstanton’, a new group opening for The National Garden Scheme in 2022, also including 5 Church Lane, set behind the oldest house in the village and packed with foliage appeal, including hostas, succulents and ferns. The two gardens will open Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May from noon until 5pm.
The National Garden Scheme gives visitors unique, affordable access to over 3,500 exceptional private gardens in England and Wales and raises impressive amounts of money for nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cake.
A spokesperson said: "Thanks to the generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors we have donated over £60million to nursing and health charities. Founded in 1927 to support district nurses, we are now the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK and our beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute.
"The National Garden Scheme doesn’t just open beautiful gardens for charity – we are passionate about the physical and mental health benefits of gardens too. We fund projects which promote gardens and gardening as therapy, and in 2017, we launched our annual Gardens and Health Week to raise awareness of the topic."
In stark contrast to the formal gardens at The Manor House, seven gardens forming the Cambourne group are due to open on Sunday 29 May, 11am – 5pm, showcasing just what can be done in a few years from initially unpromising new build plots.
They include 43 Monkfield Lane, the home of Penny Miles, part of the National Garden Scheme’s Cambridgeshire team, who said: “This really will be a great weekend for garden visitors west of Cambridge.
“The Fenstanton opening is a real treasure, but I have to say I’m also very proud of our Cambourne group. Some of the ideas are very creative and the whole opening has a great atmosphere, reflecting how much we all enjoy living here,” she said.
Further north, gorgeous riverside vistas are promised at Island Hall, Godmanchester on Sunday, May 29, opening its three acres of grounds from 10.30am until 4.30pm. Island Hall is in a tranquil setting by the River Ouse and its gardens have been restored to a formal 18th century design.
A Chinese bridge over a Saxon mill race, an ornamental island planted with Princeton elms and much formal topiary are part of its appeal.
Visits to all these openings can be booked online at ngs.or.uk or be paid for at the gate.
This weekend will be the last chance to visit Acer Heaven at St Ives, finishing a month long run showing off its collection of 90 acers. The Scheme’s national website features a virtual tour of this garden: https://ngs.org.uk/28-houghton-road-cambridgeshire-acer-heaven/. Visits are by advance booking only: findagarden.ngs.org.uk/garden/35906/28-houghton-road
Meanwhile at Buckden, the now famous garden at 23A Perry Road continues to open by arrangement until September. The garden, with its eclectic displays of rare and unusual plants, was featured on BBC Gardeners World earlier this year. Visits here are also by advance booking: findagarden.ngs.org.uk/garden/25094/23-a-perry-road
Proceeds from all openings are for the nursing and health charities supported by the National Garden Scheme. More than £60,000 was raised in Cambridgeshire for the Scheme in 2021, part of more than £3 million raised nationally.
Thanks to the generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors The National Garden Scheme has donated over £60million to nursing and health charities. Founded in 1927 to support district nurses, we are now the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK and beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute.
The National Garden Scheme doesn’t just open beautiful gardens for charity – they are passionate about the physical and mental health benefits of gardens too. They fund projects which promote gardens and gardening as therapy, and in 2017, they launched an annual Gardens and Health Week to raise awareness of the topic.
To find your perfect garden, visit ngs.org.uk, download the National Garden Scheme app or purchase the National Garden Scheme’s Garden Visitor’s Handbook, which is published annually and available via ngs.org.uk/shop and at all good book retailers.