March Meeting

Vanessa Berridge gave a fascinating talk about the National Garden Scheme and gardens that open in Gloucestershire. Vanessa, a County Organiser for Gloucestershire, regularly opens her own garden.

Vanessa took us through the history of the NGS from 1859 when William Rathbone retained Mary Robinson to nurse those in Liverpool that couldn’t afford to pay. Rathbone went on to work with Florence Nightingale to develop training for and set up a district nursing service.

In 1927 the NGS was founded to raise funds for district nursing and 609 gardens opened at a charge of ‘a shilling a head’, raising £8,191.

In 1932 an illustrated list of 1,079 gardens was published, this garden guide became yellow in 1949; today over 3,500 gardens open, 80 of them in Gloucestershire, most selling teas, a good proportion sell plants and have a card reader.

Vanessa said whether you look for a garden in  the ‘yellow book’ or on line, you are sure to find a range from small, group openings to larger gardens in a variety of styles. Her photos illustrated a choice of traditional, through tropical to those with a wilder theme.

She urged us not to forget those that open by arrangement  as these, often unable to cater for many cars, are great for small groups and often give a personal tour.

For more history, information and gardens visit