If you are a garden-lover, now is the time to visit one of Shropshire’s beautiful gardens and help others at the same time.  Gardens throughout the county are opening their gates as part of the National Garden Scheme, raising money for many cancer and caring charities, including Macmillan, Marie Curie, Hospice UK, Parkinson’s UK, the Queen’s Nursing Institute and a myriad of others.

The National Garden Scheme has supported Macmillan for 35 years this year and during that time has donated in excess of £17million to help people living with and beyond cancer.  Within Shropshire, there are 42 Macmillan professionals offering a range of specialist care and support services. As well as household name nursing charities, the National Garden Scheme is also supporting a smaller charity – Horatio’s Garden – which is currently building a special garden for patients at the spinal unit in the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital near Oswestry.

The scheme is well established, having started in 1927, as a way of raising money to train district nurses in the community pre-NHS; since then, millions of pounds have been raised to help others through the generosity of garden owners opening their private gardens to the public.

As well as specific published open days, many National Garden Scheme gardens are open for group visits by arrangement with the owner: this is a very easy way for friends to experience a private visit to a garden; some people visit the gardens for pure enjoyment of seeing another gardener’s interpretation of their green space; some visit with friends and family and others enjoy the space and solitude that a garden visit can bring – and of course, the very British thing of a home-made afternoon tea!

We are spoilt for choice of beautiful gardens in Shropshire and the county has such a wonderful horticultural heritage; from large estates to beautifully planted town gardens and every size and style in between.

Summer in Shropshire sees gardens with beautifully planted herbaceous borders and divine rose gardens, such as the quintessentially English country cottage garden at Beam Cottage at Colemere near Ellesmere which opens for the National Garden Scheme for the first time on Sunday 30 June (12-6pm).  Another romantic, beautifully planted English style garden is at Cruckfield House at Ford just south of Shrewsbury.  Opening on Saturday 6 July (2-6pm), this three-acre garden, famed for its roses and peonies, is at the height of its beauty in mid-summer.  The double herbaceous border and masses of roses, as well as a huge productive garden, continue to delight visitors at Goldstone Hall, near Market Drayton which opens on Wednesday 10 July and on many other days into the autumn.

There are too many beautiful Shropshire gardens opening for the National Garden Scheme this summer to mention but here is a list of those open in July and August:

SUN 30 JUNE Beam Cottage, Colemere, Ellesmere NEW GARDEN
SAT 6 JULY Cruckfield House, Ford, nr Shrewsbury  
SAT 6 JULY & SUN 7 JULY Ruthall Manor, Ditton Priors, nr Bridgnorth  
SUN 7 JULY 2 School Cottages, Hook-A-Gate, nr Shrewsbury  
SUN 7 JULY Upper Marshes, Catherton Common, Hopton Wafers NEW GARDEN
SUN 7 JULY Windy Ridge, Little Wenlock, Telford  
WED 10 JULY Goldstone Hall Gardens, Market Drayton  
SUN 14 JULY Lower Brookshill, Nind, nr Bishops Castle  
SUN 14 JULY Welshampton Gardens (The Hollies & Holly House) NEW GARDEN
Wed 17 July Oakgates Nursery & Garden Centre, Ellerdine Heath  
SUN 21 JULY Sambrook Manor, Sambrook, nr Newport  
SUN 28 JULY Delbury Hall Walled Garden, Diddlebury  
SUN 28 JULY Merton, Bicton, Shrewsbury NEW GARDEN
TUES 30 JULY Goldstone Hall Gardens, Market Drayton  
TUES 6 AUG Goldstone Hall Gardens, Market Drayton  
SAT 10 AUG 27 Croxon Rise, Oswestry NEW GARDEN
SUN 11 AUG Windy Ridge, Little Wenlock, Telford  
WED 14 AUG Goldstone Hall Gardens, Market Drayton  
SUN 18 AUG Delbury Hall Walled Garden, Diddlebury  
SUN 25 AUG Sambrook Manor, Sambrook, nr Newport  


For a full list of all the gardens in Shropshire open for the Scheme visit: www.ngs.org.uk (search Shropshire and All Dates); alternatively, request a free Shropshire leaflet by email: allison.walter@ngs.org.uk