Does your garden have the wow factor?

Does your garden have the wow factor?
Bagthorpe Hall boasts a snowdrop walk

The National Garden Scheme allows visitors unique access to over 3,500 gardens across the country, raising a record annual donation of £3.1 million in 2018 for nursing and health charities – and they are looking for more garden openers.

The launch of the 2020 Norfolk NGS Booklet on Saturday 8 February was held at the Thursford Collection, with talks by organisers, museum owner John Cushing and Horatio’s Garden co-founder Dr Olivia Chapple.

Nine more gardens were announced for 2020 openings and organisers praised the efforts of volunteers and garden openers, revealing that Norfolk alone raised over £112,878 in 2019 – split between worthwhile charities such as Macmillan, MIND and Horatio’s Gardens.

Dr Chapple extended her gratitude to the NGS for their support of Horatio’s Gardens – a charity named after her late son who was tragically killed by a polar bear at 17 years old. Volunteering at spinal rehabilitation centres, he envisioned an accessible garden for spinal victims and their friends and families to enjoy during long stays at the centres.


Pictured: (L to R) Dr Olivia Chapple, John Cushing, Julia Stafford Allen (County Organiser) at the 2020 NGS booklet launch.

Since its inception in 1927, the National Garden Scheme has donated over £55 million to charities.

However, there was a call for more owners to open up their private gardens for official visits in 2021. They said:

“By opening your garden, you’re not only giving people a great day out – you’re also raising money to help those in need. What’s more, you are joining a community of thousands of other like-minded garden owners, all passionate about great gardens and raising money for great causes.

“If you’re passionate about your garden and your friends and family tell you how lovely it is, then it’s very likely other people will want to visit your garden too.”

Though the open gardens are predominantly concentrated to the east of the county, there are a few worthwhile visits to be had in the west, including Bagthorpe Hall at Bagthorpe, Bircham – opening to the public on 23 February 11am to 4pm for £5 adult admission, visitors can enjoy a delightful circular walk to take in a display of snowdrops and a walled-garden. There is homemade teas and soups to be enjoyed, made from organic vegetables from the onsite farm. For more information, phone 01485 578528 or email

There is of course the regal Sandringham Gardens, which is open daily from 3 April to 14 October – 60 acres of stunning gardens and woodland with an array of rare plants and trees. Visit or phone 01485 545408 for more information.

Houghton Hall Walled Garden is an award-winning walled garden with 5 acres of antique and contemporary statues, a double-sided herbaceous border and glasshouses. For opening times, visit the garden website at or phone 01485 528569.

For more information on how to get involved, whether as a visitor, garden opener or volunteer, visit the NGS website at

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