Garden gates across Sussex are swinging open this spring to welcome people into exclusive, private gardens, not usually open to the public, for St Catherine’s Hospice Open Gardens season.
This year’s Open Gardens includes Birchanger, which is celebrating 40 years of opening its family friendly seven-acre garden. Opening on May 14 , between 2pm and 5.30pm, visitors can admire rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, a lily pond, small lake, and Etruscan-style temple, and enjoy homemade cakes and teas, served by The Haywards Heath Friends Group, a voluntary fundraising group for St Catherine’s.
Continuing the Sussex season is a weekend event at Warnham Park in Horsham in aid of St Catherine’s and Bloodwise. On Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May, between 12pm and 4.30pm, visitors can look out for the park’s herd of red deer as they enjoy Warnham’s beautiful garden, which boasts mixed borders, a ha-ha, a walled and vegetable garden, and a pretty woodland walk. Caroline Lucas, who owns Warnham Park with her husband, Jonathan said: “We’ve supported St Catherine’s over many years and Open Gardens is our latest venture. We support St Catherine’s as a local charity in memory of my father who died in 1972 with no hospice care available for him. We so admire the quality end of life care that St Catherine’s gives to so many people.”
Gardens are also opening in Sussex villages including Slinfold Village on June 4 between 11am and 5pm.
Last year, Open Gardens raised more than £22,000 for St Catherine’s, helping the local hospice to be there for local people when life comes full circle. So whether you visit a garden to look for a particular plant, to enjoy a cream tea, or simply, for a spring afternoon in unique surroundings, you’ll be making a difference to terminally ill people and their family and friends.