National Garden Scheme gardens star on More4’s Garden of the Year
The National Garden Scheme is often the first port of call for the press and for production companies looking for great gardens. From Japanese and German TV channels to Gardeners’ World and Love Your Garden there are few major gardening shows that don’t find their perfect gardens through the National Garden Scheme website or the Garden Visitor’s Handbook.
“Many TV production companies, and a lot of publications, come to us looking for gardens to feature,” says Communications Manager, Vicky Flynn. “It’s testament to the sheer depth and quality of the gardens in our portfolio, and the generosity of our garden owners, that the enquiries keep coming. It’s hugely rewarding to see the gardens, and their owners, take centre stage on television and the pages of glossy magazines and newspapers.”
Nine of the 16 gardens shortlisted in More4’s Garden of the Year that aired this August open for the National Garden Scheme, including the overall winner, Stretton Old Hall. All were delighted to be shortlisted and happy to welcome in the film crew and presenters Zoe Ball, Manoj Malde and Lachlan Rae.
“The crew were all really professional,” says Nigel Brandon on 15 The Avenue, Cheam. “We agreed to enter mainly because we hoped it would raise the profile of the garden and encourage more visitors to the National Garden Scheme.”
“We were blown away to be shortlisted and very honoured as we knew the calibre of the gardens and the high standard they were looking for was really high,” say Annmarie and Andrew of Fifty Shades of Green, Walsall. “The crew and judges were absolutely wonderful. They were down to earth, professional and most of all very respectful of our home, our garden and us. The judges were natural and so very friendly and they were all so full of praise for our garden. Sharing this day with them all was one of the best days of our lives.”
“To be chosen by the judges to be in their final three was a once in a lifetime achievement and we are hoping that this exposure will increase our National Garden Scheme garden visitors in 2023 so we will be able to raise even more for the chosen charities.”
Like Annmarie and Andrew, Debbie Simpson of Highfield Cottage in Yorkshire was really excited to be chosen. “I love my garden and think it is unique, but gardens are very personal and there are so many fabulous gardens in the National Garden Scheme that I really didn’t expect to be picked.”
Su and John Mills were equally thrilled to have their garden, Stoneleigh Down near Bristol, selected for the programme. “We made a special effort to get the garden looking as good as possible. Fortunately for us the film crew came just as we were about to open for the National Garden Scheme so we would normally be hard at work preparing the garden for that event anyway.”
For Mona Abboud at 33 Wood Vale in Highgate she was pleased that her garden is always ‘visitor ready’. “It was good that I didn’t need to make any extra preparations for the show except mow the lawn,” she says. “I’m really thankful for that as I have been working very hard on the 600 square metre new plot I have recently acquired – and which was a wasteland – which I would like to be ready for National Garden Scheme visitors at my opening next year.”
Elizabeth and David Smith, who garden at Scape Lodge, 1000 feet up a hill in the Pennines, had recently opened for the National Garden Scheme when the crew came to film. “We had done a lot of preparation for the open day but there was still a great deal of last-minute deadheading and rearranging pots to be done. You want your garden to look its best.”
“I probably didn’t work hard enough on the garden,” admits Mike Robinson of Twin Tarns in Cambridgeshire. “But we have a largish garden and do the work ourselves, plus leave a few spots to grow fuzzy to encourage wildlife; maybe not every designer’s cup of tea!”
While the overall winner, the five acre garden at Stretton Old Hall, is managed by professional head gardener, Stephen Gore, the variety and interest presented by all the gardens on the series helped showcase just what can be achieved when you get stuck into your garden.
How to get involved
“If being asked to be part of a TV show or featured in a magazine is something you’re really keen on as a garden owner my main piece of advice is to make sure you upload really good quality images of your garden that show it at its best and in the season that you open when you register,” says Vicky Flynn. “It’s not just external companies that select which gardens to feature by scrolling through the images on the website, it’s how the team at the National Garden Scheme choose which gardens are featured in the Garden Visitor’s Handbook, the Impact Report, the website, on social media and on all our promotional materials. It’s also how we select which gardens to send through in response to press enquiries as they always want great images and they really help to sell the garden.”
More about the featured gardens
The featured gardens on Garden of the Year are all opening for the National Garden Scheme again in 2023 giving you a chance to enjoy them – and some great tea and cake – in real life. Click on the garden links below for more information – opening times for 2023 will be released in December.
Stretton Old Hall, Malpas, Cheshire
Fifty Shades of Green, Walsall – garden designer and presenter Manoj Malde was so impressed he wrote a blog about the creation of this wonderful garden – you can read it here The garden will open in 2023 on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th July, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th August (Late opening times as garden is illuminated in the evening) and May until Mid-October open by arrangement.
Scape Lodge, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire – plan to open Sunday 7th May 2023 1.30pm – 4.30pm.
Batcombe House, Somerset
Twin Tarns, Cambridgeshire – plan to open in late May-early June 2023.
Stoneleigh Down, Bristol – planning to open April 10th, June 2nd and June 4th and accepting groups by arrangement from April 8th until June 11th.
15 The Avenue, Cheam, Surrey – open at the end of Chelsea week, plus by appointment from late May to end July.
33 Wood Vale, Highgate, London – planning to open on Sunday 9thJuly.
Highfield Cottage, Driffield, East Yorkshire – plans to open twice in May and once in August 2023.