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Chelsea connections – gardens to inspire

2024 is a special year for the National Garden Scheme as we showcase the charity with our very special show garden at RHS Chelsea. The National Garden Scheme Garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith and brought to life by Crocus is fully funded by Project Giving Back and shines a global spotlight on our work and the wonderful gardens we open each year, raising millions for some of the best-loved nursing and health charities in the UK.

Like the thousands of gardens that open each year the Chelsea garden epitomises great planting and design and the deep rooted sense of sharing that epitomises the ethos of the National Garden Scheme. If you were unable to see the garden at Chelsea it will be relocated to a new site for one of our gardens and health charities, Maggie’s, when they create a new garden at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridgeshire and we’ll bring you updates on that build as we have them.

You can find gardening inspiration from the gardens with a Chelsea connection that open for us this year including the gardens at Maggie’s centres, Tom Stuart-Smith’s family home and many others … read on to discover more.

Chelsea connection gardens opening this year:

Serge-Hill Gardens
Opening Date: Sunday 2 June – pre-booking essential Click here for details
Chelsea Connection: Three large country gardens a short walk from each other are all connected to our Chelsea garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith. Tom and Sue Stuart-Smith’s garden at The Barn has an enclosed courtyard with tanks of water, herbaceous perennials and shrubs tolerant of generally dry conditions (lead image). To the north there are views over the five acre wildflower meadow. The West Garden is a series of different gardens overflowing with bulbs, herbaceous perennials, and shrubs. There is also an exotic prairie planted from seed in 2011. The Plant Library is a collection of over 1000 herbaceous plants first planted in 2021. Next door at Serge Hill, there is a lovely walled garden with a large Foster and Pearson greenhouse, orderly rows of vegetables, and disorderly self-seeded annuals and perennials. The walls are crowded with climbers and shrubs.
More on the Chelsea story here

Sunnyside Rural Trust
Opening Date: Saturday 29 June Click here for details
Chelsea Connection: Four gardens open in this group for the Sunnyside Rural Trust, a wonderful charity that provides therapy, learning and employment for adults with learning difficulties. The team provides recycled tools for our Chelsea garden. More on their Chelsea story here

Maggie’s
Opening Dates: Various dates click here for details
Chelsea Connection: Our Chelsea garden will live on at the new Maggie’s centre at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridgeshire where it will provide a tranquil, therapeutic space for those living with cancer and their families. In 2023 the National Garden Scheme made a donation of £100,000 to Maggie’s gardens and announced its commitment to raise £1 million over 10 years to support people with cancer on top of the £420,000 that the gardening charity has already donated to Maggie’s.

 

Brockhampton Cottage, Herefordshire
Opening Dates: Sunday 2 June and Sunday 15 September click here for details
Chelsea Connection:
Created from scratch in 1999 by the owner and Tom Stuart-Smith, this beautiful hilltop garden looks south and west over unspoilt countryside. Enjoy a woodland garden, five acre wildflower meadow, a Perry pear orchard and in valley below: lake, stream and arboretum. The extensive borders are planted with drifts of perennials in the modern romantic style.

Knepp Castle, West Sussex
Opening Date: Saturday 1 June click here for details
Chelsea Connection:
The Walled Garden at Knepp has been transformed into a garden for biodiversity. With designers Tom Stuart-Smith and James Hitchmough, we have applied some of the principles we’ve learned from rewilding the wider landscape to this small, confined space to create a mosaic of dynamic habitats for wildlife. The croquet lawn is now a riot of humps and hollows, hosting almost 1000 species of plants.

Horatio’s Garden London & South East
Opening Dates: Sunday 12 May and Sunday 15 September click here for details
Chelsea Connection: 
Opened in September 2020, Horatio’s Garden London & South East located at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore is designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. The garden is on one level with smooth paths throughout ensuring that it is easily accessible to patients in beds and wheelchairs. The essential design features inc a social space, private areas for patients to seek solitude or share with a family member or friend, the calming sound of flowing water, a garden room and a greenhouse. May is the perfect time to see the carpet of tulips and other bulbs.

Grendon Court, Herefordshire
Opening Dates: Sunday 2 June and Sunday 15 September click here for details
Chelsea Connection: A contemporary garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. Planted on two levels, a clever collection of mass-planted perennials and grasses of different heights, textures and colour give all year interest. The upper walled garden with a sea of flowering grasses makes a highlight.

Broughton Grange, Oxfordshire
Opening Dates: Sundays 28 April, 23 June, 28 July, 8 September click here for details
Chelsea Connection: An impressive 25 acres of gardens and light woodland in an attractive Oxfordshire setting. The centrepiece is a large terraced walled garden created by Tom Stuart-Smith in 2001. Vision has been used to blend the gardens into the countryside.

Wadhurst Park, East Sussex
Opening Dates: Friday 14 and Saturday 15 Junes click here for details
Chelsea Connection: The naturalistic gardens designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, created on a C19 site, situated within a 2000 acre estate managed organically to enhance its wildlife, cultural heritage and beauty. The gardens invite the wider landscape in with native woodland trees and ground cover, meadows and hedgerows, framing views to hills and lake. We strive to garden with a greater respect for the natural world.

 

A number of garden owners who also donated plants open their gardens for the National Garden Scheme – read their story here and discover more about their opening days below:

Westview in Leicestershire – various dates and by arrangement click here for details
Mardley Hill, Hertfordshire – opens Monday 27 May click here for details
St Timothee, Berkshire – opens by arrangement click here for details
Ulting Wick, Essex – 28 April, 11 July, 26 and 30 August click here for details
The Dower House Derbyshire – 22 and 23 June and by arrangement click here for details
Doddington Place, Kent – 22 May, 28 August, 22 September click here for details
Oxleaze Farm, Gloucestershire – 9 June click here for details
Lepe House, Hampshire – 14 April and by arrangement to end of June click here for details
The Circles Garden, West Yorkshire – open by arrangement to end of June click here for details
Coton Manor Garden, Northamptonshire – open 15 September click here for details
Ravensthorpe Nursery, Northamptonshire – opens on dates in May, June, July and September click here for details

And of course hundreds of wonderful gardens open from May 18, the weekend before Chelsea and for the weeks following, meaning there are lots of opportunities to enjoy a National Garden Scheme garden wherever you are this summer. CLICK HERE from gardens opening May 18 – June 16.

For more about Our Chelsea Garden, click here

 

 

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Our donations in 2023

Donor 1
Donor 2 £450,000
Donor 3 £450,000
Donor 4 £450,000
Donor 5 £425,000
Donor 6 £350,000
Donor 7 £350,000
Donor 8
Donor 9 £100,000
Donor 10 £90,000
Donor 11 £80,000
Donor 12 £281,000
Donor 13 £260,000