DESPITE the challenges that September brought in terms of restrictions to socialising, the National Garden Scheme’s first-ever Great British Garden Party fundraiser illustrated just how resourceful and innovative people can be. From National Garden Scheme President, Mary Berry to garden owners, visitors, friends and family, small events took place up and down the country raising almost £40,000 for the ‘Help Support Our Nurses’ appeal.
National Garden Scheme CEO, George Plumptre, whose own raffle set up in lieu of a larger party, raised over £12,000 said:
“The result speaks for itself. Despite the rule of six coming into force just as the Great British Garden Party launched we had the most encouraging and positive response.”
Penny and Bob from Gloucestershire hosted the first event with time slots throughout the day.
“Running it the way we did made everyone feel comfortable and it was as much about seeing other people as sharing the garden. There was cake, tea and homemade produce available all for a donation.”
For some, like garden owner Matthew Bradby it was a family affair with tea for two at home with his partner, and his parents in Cornwall and sister in the West Midlands also hosting their own small parties.
“We really wanted to be part of the Great British Garden Party so we got out the best china and the weather was perfect too a real Indian summer day.”
In Shropshire, Briony Cooper and her friends in the small hamlet of Little Lyth each hosted a party in their own garden and then strolled around each other’s gardens.
“We ended up in the largest garden which belongs to a talented artist so we could see some of his work in his studio which was fun.”
In South Wales, Rhian James invited her small street to create displays from their gardens in celebration of their gardens in lockdown.
“Despite the progressing season we had a beautiful display of flowers and produce to share. Our gardens have meant a lot to us during the last few months and have brought us all closer together, even if this has been online. We have been sharing plants, produce and garden know-how with each other. Some of us have been attempting to grow our own food for the first year and some of us are experts. Our Great British Garden Party was a culmination of this lockdown community spirit and a chance to share our experiences of gardening this year. It was a great lift before we go into the winter months.”
With fingers crossed for a less challenging year, the National Garden Scheme will be running the Great British Garden Party again in 2021.
CEO George Plumptre concluded:
“Traditionally our attention is focused on those gardens which hold open days for us, to welcome visitors and raise funds for our wonderful nursing beneficiaries. The Great British Garden Party is an exciting step forward because it reaches out to everyone. Its message is, whatever kind of garden or outdoor space you have, however big or small, tidy or untidy, it is a source of joy and reassurance and we want you to celebrate that with friends and family by having fun and raising funds for vital nursing charities. Our main event will run in September, but you can host a Great British Garden Party whenever is best for you to say to people ‘come and join me in the garden.’”
For more about the Great British Garden Party click here https://ngs.org.uk/great-british-garden-party/