Queen’s Nurse opens her garden for the National Garden Scheme

Queen’s Nurse Vanessa Hurley opened her garden, The Old School House in Dawlish, Devon, for the National Garden Scheme for the first time this year and raised an incredible £1,845. Her original target for the two-day opening was just £500.

Founded by The Queen’s Nursing Institute in 1927, National Garden Scheme links with the charity remain strong and they continue to be one of the main recipients of money raised at over 3,600 garden gates each year.

Vanessa Hurley QN is a learning disability nurse specialist who provides support to people in her local community in Devon. She had originally planned to open her garden in 2020 but had to cancel due to the pandemic.


“We had queues outside the gate and queues for cakes,” says Vanessa. “We had loads of cakes made by all my friends which were fabulous. We knitted scarecrows for sale and sold plants and local honey; some of the plants came from the Dawlish Garden Trust which employs people with a learning disability.

“A few days beforehand, we had help from residents from a local care home for people with a learning disability whom we paid to help us and provided lunch, so it was a great day. I also had help from one of the gentlemen I support in the community who really enjoyed the two open days – he met loads of people and loved it.

“It was a real community effort: there were 12 of us helping on each day, which was definitely needed!”

Among those assisting Vanessa were fellow Queen’s Nurses Katy Welsh and Helen Palmer.

Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, the QNI’s Chief Executive said: “I am absolutely delighted that Vanessa’s first garden opening was such a huge success. The funds raised for the National Garden Scheme are vital to support nursing and caring charities in the UK, including the QNI and our Queen’s Nurse programme. Queen’s Nurse are delivering excellent care to people of all ages in communities everywhere and the funding we receive from the National Garden Scheme makes a huge difference to people in need.”

Vanessa Hurley and her passion for gardens was featured on the National Garden Scheme website this year as part of its Gardens and Health Week.
Read more about her story here

To read more about the National Garden Scheme’s link to the QNI click here.
For more on the recently announced Community Nursing Scholarship click here

Don’t miss a thing

Sign up to hear more about gardens, events and our
activities throughout the year

By completing this form, you confirm that you are aged 18 years or over and that you are happy to receive emails from the National Garden Scheme in accordance with our Privacy Policy. We will never share your details with anyone else without your express permission.



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