Open your garden gate to the British Red Cross

Open Gardens offers a rare opportunity to explore the secrets of hidden and private gardens not usually accessible to the public.

Wild flower gardenThe British Red Cross is now appealing for new gardens to sign up to the long-running scheme and share your pride and joy with your neighbours and further afield. Enjoy the benefits of your hard work by opening your garden to the appreciative green-fingered public - and raise money for a worthwhile cause at the same time.

We are looking for gardens of all shapes and sizes to open in 2010, from small cottages to whole villages – size doesn't matter. All gardens will be welcomed, whatever their style or status.

The Open Gardens scheme, now UK wide, began in Hampshire – with the earliest known records dating back to 1932.

Judy Medhurst of Oak Tree Drive, Greenfields, Liss, near Petersfield, will open her small colourful garden to the public again this year for the Red Cross. She said: “It’s fun taking part in Open Gardens and doesn’t take much organising – just some extra pleasurable hours in the garden getting things looking nice. Helping the Red Cross gives a great sense of satisfaction – they do so much for people in our local community, as well as across the world.”

In 2009, Open Gardens raised more than £6,500, which helps the British Red Cross care for people in Hampshire with services such as first aid training, health and social care, humanitarian education in schools, emergency response in a disaster, and the fire and emergency support service - helping people cope in the aftermath of a fire by offering practical help, advice and comfort.

Volunteer Barbara Bloxham, Open Gardens co-ordinator, said: “Opening your garden to the public for the Red Cross will give you the satisfaction of other people viewing your garden, and the funds raised for the charity will make a real difference to our local community.

“The variation of the gardens we have signed up is what makes it special – each is delightful in their own large or small way. Even after nigh on 19 years, I am still surprised at the beauty of them all.’

To join the scheme or for further information please contact 01962 891677.