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Open Gardens

The Yellow Book Scheme is a very British thing it seems to me. The premise being to
open your garden and invite folk in, sell tea, cake and cuttings, then give the takings to charity.
The charities they support are close to my heart and I love going around gardens, especially those gardens which are on a scale that I can relate to my own small patch. I’m always on the look out for ideas that I may be able to translate for my own use.

Yesterday afternoon we walked around a collection of gardens which had opened together, in one little community. It was a true ‘village affair’ – with the village hall open for tea and cakes, and 7 gardens open.  It was warm and there was a breeze – a quintessential English afternoon, just like you may see in ‘Midsomer Murders.’

The village topology is very different from ours, even though it is only a few miles away. Our village is flat: not a contour in sight. The village we explored yesterday is steep and has a river running through it.

To my mind it was a bargain – £5 a head, plus a little for the tea later on.

Early summer border

Green man face at the back of an arbour

What do you keep at the bottom of your garden?

Waterside primulas

There’s no doubt that some of these gardens are owned by those without much financial constraint, but others are not. It is the eye for detail that seems to make the difference and make a place special.


  1. May 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Lovely post and thank you for the link, Nym.

    You reminded me to check which ones are open to the public locally. I now have a couple in my diary, weather permitting.

    I enjoy visiting other gardens too. Some lovely ideas, and a most enjoyable way of contributing to a worthwhile cause.

  2. Pseu
    May 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I expect you have some great ones near you?

  3. Janus
    May 28, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    When one opens a garden to the public does one need public liability insurance and a catering licence?

  4. May 28, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    I haven’t been to many, but yes, they are lovely.

  5. Pseu
    May 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Janus, I haven’t ever done it myself, but possibly that charity provides that support?

  6. christinaosborne
    May 28, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Most comprehensive home insurance policies have public liability built in for a million or so.
    You rarely pay for the tea directly, generally a donation so I expect legally that gets round the catering licence necessity.
    I believe the Yellow Book is only a listing facility.

  7. Pseu
    May 29, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    thank you Christina.

  8. Pseu
    May 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Form the website : http://www.ngs.org.uk/ngs-volunteers-area/insurance-guidelines.aspx

    The National Gardens Scheme holds public liability insurance to provide protection for Garden Owners and NGS against claims for personal injury and/or damage to property during, or as a direct result of, the opening of a garden for NGS.

    This insurance will only apply where the garden is opening for the benefit of the NGS and the NGS is found to be legally liable for an incident.

    These notes are for general guidance but are not exhaustive. Please seek advice from Head Office if you are in any doubt…..

    and more

  9. christinaosborne
    May 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    ‘This insurance will only apply where the garden is opening for the benefit of the NGS and the NGS is found to be legally liable for an incident. ‘

    Sounds like a good weaselling clause, bet the sons of bitches have only paid a pittance in decades if ever!
    I do think that if you have the public round you want to make sure that there are no things left about to trip over etc. I have a selection of small orange traffic cones bought at one of the box stores to mark obvious pitfalls. But to be honest I don’t think that the usual type of people that come to these bashes are of the ilk to sue anyway. We also rope off small paths where you get ‘assaulted’ by roses etc.(Spousal unit always swears they are out to get him!)

    Worth checking the terms and conditions of your own household policy. I rather suspect that as long as you are not charging an entry fee, just donations for a charity you would be covered. We are here.

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