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NGS and School Garden Openings

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 04 Apr 2012 at 10:03 AM

Palatine (2)

Image source: NGS/Palatine Primary School

It's day three of the school holidays and today we're having a pyjama day. For those unfamiliar with this concept, it is a day when we don't bother getting out of our pyjamas (creative nomenclature is not our speciality).  This looks quite sweet when you are a kid, but gives me the appearance of being in the midst of a breakdown. Age is cruel.

It also shows what a difference a week makes.  Last Wednesday at this time I was skipping up to London in a vintage tea dress and heels so high I couldn't walk pain-free for the next three days (in retrospect, the skipping was probably a mistake). The occasion was the launch of the National Garden Scheme.

To any of you unfamiliar with the NGS it was begun 85 years ago by nice ladies in puffed sleeves and flowing skirts who thought it would be a jolly good wheeze to open private gardens to the public and raise money for charity. Today it generates about £2.5 million a year for a range of charities and has over 3700 gardens in its famous Yellow Book (which will also be available as an App - another jolly good wheeze).  This proves something I have always known - never underestimate a woman with puffed sleeves.

However, the NGS has always had a certain 'image' in my book - it is the sort of image that conjures up reading glasses, driving shoes and a firm belief that no good music was composed after 1950.  But the times they are a-changin (you see, right there, is a reason to dump the 1950 rule for a start).  The organisation itself seems keen to get younger gardeners visiting.  Most let children in for free (having said that, I'm not, but that's partly because we are specifically putting on lots of entertainment aimed at kids so, quite frankly, 50p is an absolute bargain!)

Also, there are a number of schools opening their gardens.  I love this idea.  Not only will the children involved have an enormous sense of pride to have paying visitors admiring their plot, but it will be a great place for families to visit and, hopefully, get inspired.

If you are tempted to get out and about garden visiting this year, here are a few of the school gardens opening their gates:

Brighstone Primary School (Isle of Wight) - part of a group opening on Sunday 24th June

Cefn Cribwr Primary School (Glamorgan) - part of a group opening on Sunday 10th June

Cheddington Combined School (Bucks) - part of a group opening on Sunday 24th June

Hayton C of E Primary School (Cumbria) - part of a group opening on Sunday 15th July

Heronsbridge School (Bridgend, Glamorgan) - opening Sunday 24th June

Overthorpe J, I & N School (Thornhill, Dewsbury, Yorks) - opening Sunday 15th July

Palatine School Gardens (Worthing, Sussex) - opening Sunday 1st July

Rhydypenau Primary School (Glamorgan) - part of a group opening Sundays 13 May and 15 July

St John RC Primary School (Beverley, Yorks) - opening Saturday 7th July

And, best of all, they will all be serving cake.  Because an NGS garden opening is nothing without the cake.


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