SUMMER is coming.....

Lighter and long evenings and brighter days are a good sign that winter will soon be over and the arrival of warmer days gives us the opportunity to spend more time outside.

For those who love tending their gardens it will soon be time for planting and sculpting as well as strimming and trimming when the grass really starts to grow over the coming months....

It’s a busy time, that’s for sure, but if you really want to get some inspiration why not visit other venues to see how their garden grows.....?

Established in 1927 to support district nurses, the National Garden Scheme is understood to be the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK.

The charity’s origins began when William Rathbone, the Liverpool merchant and philanthropist who later became an MP, employed Mary Robinson to nurse his wife at home during her final illness.

Following his wife’s death, Rathbone retained Mary’s services so that people in Liverpool who could not afford to pay for nursing would benefit from care in their homes.

Seeing first-hand the benefit of this, William along with Florence Nightingale worked together to try to develop the service. This led to the creation of ‘district nursing.’

To ensure this vital work continues, around 3,500 private gardens open their gates for charity ever year.

Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute are among the beneficiaries of this long established scheme which raises funds through admissions, teas and cake.

The generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors has raised a total of £55 million to nursing and charities and made a record annual donation of £3.1 million in 2018.

Yet, it isn’t just about beautiful gardens. The charity also recognises the health benefits of gardens too for both physical and mental health promoting gardens as therapy.

In 2017 the NGS launched its annual Gardens and Health Week to raise awareness of the topic.

It is worth bearing in mind that by visiting the gardens you aren’t just supporting the charity. Wandering around these beautiful spaces gives you the opportunity to take time out, relax and switch off from the day to day busyness of life.

You can also glean some inspiration to create your own outside oasis at home.

Here are just some of the Yorkshire gardens taking part in the scheme:-

* The Circles Garden near Wakefield, WF4 4JQ, described as an organic and self-sustaining plantswoman’s garden, opens from 1.30 until 4.30pm on April 28. The half acre garden features herbaceous bulb and shrub planting linked by grass and gravel paths. There are mature trees, meadows, fernery, greenhouse and fruit trees.

* RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate, Yorkshire, HG3 1QB opens from 9.30am until 5pm on May 5. Beautiful location owned by the Royal Horticultural Society and featuring herbaceous borders, streamside garden, alpines, scented and kitchen gardens along with Lakeside garden, woodland and wildflower meadows. Call 01423 565418 or visit

* Scape Lodge, Huddersfield, HD7 4NQ, opens from 1.30 until 4.30pm on June 9 and from May 1 to August 31 by arrangement. This third of an acre contemporary garden is situated 1000 ft in the Pennines on a steeply sloping site with far-reaching views. It features colour themed informal planting. Call 01484 644320.

* Millrace Garden, Leeds, LS25 1LP, opens from 1 until 5pm on May 19. Over 3,000 varieties of perennials, shrubs and trees, an ornamental pond and vegetable garden and walled terraces are showcased here along with wildlife lakes. Visit

* Brookfield, Keighley, BD22 9HS, is described as an ‘intimate one acre garden.’ There are steps and paths and a large pond with mallards, large geese and greylags. Blooms include primula, candelabra, florindae, azaleas and rhodendrums along with unusual trees and shrubs. Opens from 1 until 5.30pm on June 2 and is open by arrangement from May 1 to August 31 2019. Call 01535 643070.

* The Orchard, Leeds, LS16 7BG. A third of an acre plantswoman’s oasis described as a ‘wrap around garden’ planted for year round interest. The garden opens from noon until 4.30pm on June 9 and is open by arrangement from June 1 to June 30. Call 0113 267 6764.

* Bramble Croft, Keighley, BD20 OJB, opens from 11am until 4pm on June 26 and September 1 and is open by arrangement from May to September. Described as a ‘small hidden hillside artist’s garden’ and located on the edge of Silsden. Call 01535 658032.