Mary Berry launches donations appeal for the National Garden Scheme

Despite having to close its garden gates for the first time in its 93–year history, the National Garden Scheme today launched a new campaign that will keep its stunning gardens virtually open through the coming weeks. The campaign will raise funds to make up the shortfall in donations the charity can make, caused by the gardens being closed.

Virtual garden visits, many filmed by their owners, will be hosted on the National Garden Scheme’s website and delivered direct to the nation’s inbox via the charity’s weekly eNewsletter with links via its social media channels. A longer, featured garden visit will be posted every two weeks while a library of shorter, owner filmed tours will be curated each week.  

Mary Berry, President of the National Garden Scheme, who launched the campaign for donations in her own Oxfordshire garden, said: “This wonderful organisation has been inviting people to open their gardens to raise funds for nursing and health charities for more than ninety years. During that time it has given away nearly sixty million pounds. Also during all that time, the gardens have never had to close – not even during the Second World War. That is until now. 

“Right now people are not able to visit the gardens and there is no money being raised. In fact, as things are, the charity’s income is likely to be down by 80% during 2020. 

So a team at the National Garden Scheme made up of garden owners, volunteers and staff have organised a marvellous campaign which we are launching today. 

“Garden owners have recorded videos of their gardens to make a series of ‘virtual visits’ and we are inviting everyone who might have visited a garden to watch a virtual visit instead and think of giving a donation to the charity. 

“I think it’s a fantastic idea, typical of the resourcefulness which has kept the National Garden Scheme going for over ninety years and I urge you to support the campaign generously and enjoy the stunning gardens.” 

National Garden Scheme CEO, George Plumptre added: “The wonderful content that we are sharing while our gardens are closed provides an inspirational reminder of exactly why gardens and gardening are so important to us all. And, with your continued support while we are virtually open we hope to ensure that we continue to open the gates to exceptional gardens, champion gardens for health, and support some of the most vital nursing charities in the country for many years to come.” 


“Queen’s Nurses have been supported by the opening of private gardens to the public since 1927 when the QNI founded the National Gardens Scheme,  so I am delighted to see that people can continue to enjoy these beautiful gardens – albeit virtually – and continue to raise money for Queen’s Nurses who are leading and delivering expert nursing care to patients in every village, town and city during this pandemic.”
Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, Chief Executive, Queen’s Nursing Institute

We are really excited for the launch of the National Garden Scheme’s Support Our Gardens appeal, promoting virtual garden visits in aid of Hospice UK and other beneficiary charities.
“Hospice UK and the National Garden Scheme have been working together for almost 25 years, since 1996, and during this time the partnership has raised more than £5 million for hospice care, a phenomenal amount. The National Garden Scheme is the largest funder of Hospice UK’s work and we are incredibly grateful to the 3,700+ garden owners, volunteers and visitors who continue to support hospice care during this crisis, with creativity, innovation and a great passion for the nation’s wellbeing. Thank you all!”
Tracey Bleakley, CEO, Hospice UK 

“The innovative new Support Our Gardens appeal is just one example of why our partnership with the National Garden Scheme has continued to flourish over the last 36 years, with the National Garden Scheme donating over £17.7million to Macmillan in that time. Their support and our ongoing partnership, at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is already having a devastating impact on charities, will go some way to help Macmillan continue to be there for those who need us most, right from the point of diagnosis. 
“By visiting stunning gardens across the UK virtually and making a donation, you’re able to help the National Garden Scheme and it’s fantastic beneficiaries to provide support to those who desperately need them as charity services come under enormous strain.”
Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive, Macmillan Cancer Support 

“At this time of national crisis, we’re especially proud to be partnered with The National Garden Scheme whose determination to keep supporting, despite the present challenges, is inspiriting for us all. Right now, Marie Curie nurses are on the frontline of the Covid-19 crisis, caring for vulnerable and dying people in our communities in incredibly challenging circumstances. They are hugely encouraged by knowing that NGS garden owners, volunteers and visitors are still supporting Marie Curie frontline staff so they in turn can continue caring for families and relieving pressure on acute hospitals.”
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, Marie Curie



Each week, on a Thursday, we will release a new collection of virtual garden visits. You can find them – and the full collection – on the National Garden Scheme website here

You can sign up to receive weekly information about the virtual garden visits direct to your inbox here

You can follow the National Garden Scheme on:  

Instagram @nationalgardenscheme
Twitter @NGSOpenGardens
Facebook @NationalGardenScheme 

Our appeal hashtag is #HelpSupportOurNurses

All enquiries to: [email protected]

HELP Support our NURSES appeal

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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