Garden gates across Surrey are swinging open this spring to welcome people into exclusive, private gardens, not usually open to the public, for St Catherine’s Hospice Open Gardens season.
This year’s Open Gardens include Caxton House in Reigate on Easter Sunday (16 April), where between 2pm and 5pm, visitors can enjoy a large, seven acre garden. With Arboretum, two ponds, hellebores and spring flowers, people can also admire a small Gothic folly or indulge in a cream tea. Bob Bushby, who owns Caxton House, said: “My late wife, Marjorie was cared for at St Catherine’s Hospice in Crawley for a week and went to St Catherine’s Day Hospice in Caterham for a few months. The hospice staff were always good with her and all the guests, so I try to support St Catherine’s wherever I can, including through opening my garden, which was Marjorie’s love.”
Continuing the Surrey season is an Open Garden weekend at The Garth Pleasure Grounds in Lingfield on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May. The Garth’s nine acre grounds were created by Walter Godfrey in 1919, and will be open between 2pm and 5.30pm each afternoon, providing an idyllic setting for a weekend stroll. The formal gardens have many interesting areas to explore including; an enchanting nuttery, a spinney with mature trees and a woodland garden that’s home to a 500 year old oak. During the afternoons, The Garth’s owners, David and Lana Sherlock, will be serving homemade cream teas in aid of St Catherine’s. The couple said: “We love our garden and we’re very happy to welcome visitors to our open days. We’re really glad to help raise funds for St Catherine’s as we know how valuable their support is to the people they look after and their families.”
Last year, Open Gardens raised more than £22,000 for St Catherine’s, helping the local hospice to be there for local people when life comes full circle. So whether you visit a garden to look for a particular plant, to enjoy a cream tea, or simply, for a spring afternoon in unique surroundings, you’ll be making a difference to terminally ill people and their family and friends.