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NSPCC and Childline open gardens in Caterham

PUBLISHED: 12:06 08 June 2016 | UPDATED: 09:14 09 June 2016

Every year some gardeners open their gardens on a summer afternoon for the NSPCC & Childline. The charities are 80% funded by voluntary initiatives and so far the gardens have raised around £40,000. This year they are sponsored by Knights Garden Centres.

What are the gardens like? Well, one has lemons, peaches and apricots growing in central Croydon. Another has mosaics and statuary, one even ran to a good sized dinosaur. There have been vegetables, formal hedges, topiary, Bart Simpson, an elephant and one where the garden furniture and unusual ornaments almost outnumbered the plants. A street has opened up, and once we had a garden safari, not to mention ponds, waterfalls, woodlands and allotments.

But this is an ongoing scheme so new gardens are always needed. Enthusiasm and experimentation are far more important than expertise. The NSPCC can back you up with insurance, publicity and catering.

Naturally every opening includes tea with lemon drizzle and chocolate cake. Wine or Pimms may be on the agenda too, and so may live music, choirs, recorder groups, a steel band, guitars or students from the Brit School. If the season is right plant stalls offer everything from cauliflowers and geraniums to loquats, figs and Japanese maples. 

This year three gardens will open in Caterham:

• Sunday 24 July, 2pm-5pm: 12 Colburn Avenue CR3 6HU. Entry £5 for two gardens (33 Harestone Valley Road, below) or £3 for one.

• Sunday 24 July, 2pm-5pm: 33 Harestone Valley Road CR3 6HN. Entry £5 for two gardens (12 Colburn Avenue, above) or £3 for one.

• Sunday 11 September, 2pm-5pm: 119 Harestone Hill CR2 6DL. Entry £3.

12 Colburn Avenue belongs to a plantswoman who propagates almost everything from seed, cuttings, or division. Wildlife permitting, she also grows vegetables, makes compost, and is happy to discuss all aspects of her work, especially the problems of growing on chalk. This is a beautiful garden where you could learn as well as enjoy yourself.

33 Harestone Valley Road belongs to a garden designer who laid it out with disabled access in mind giving a variety of views from ground level, with raised beds and pond built into the natural slope of Harestone Hill.

119 Harestone Hill is a large sloping garden with over 100 varieties of Japanese maple, a waterfall, a natural pond, two vintage cars and areas of formal and informal planting. Tea in the summer house.

All enquiries and information: Caroline Wilson -; 020 8686 1915

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