Gardens galore to explore in support of local hospice
To celebrate the hospice’s 40th anniversary this year, the charity is offering a rare opportunity to visit a range of wonderful Open Gardens events taking place in South Devon between April and August. Aiming to raise vital funds for the hospice, around 30 local private and community gardens are opening their gates to the public, and this includes the stunning Rowcroft gardens in Avenue Road, Torquay.
“Our extensive programme of Open Garden events offers a fascinating insight into some of the most beautiful and inspiring gardens in South Devon, with people opening up their gardens in Teignmouth, Shaldon, Galmpton, Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot, Torquay and other places – all to raise funds to care for our community,” said Debbi Shotton, Community Fundraiser for Rowcroft Hospice. “Whether you want to learn more about herbaceous borders, smell roses or sit and relax with a cream tea and a lovely view, there is something for everyone, so please do come along.”
With a fabulous choice of gardens to explore, in Galmpton alone on 10 April (11am till 4pm) the Open Gardens trail includes around a dozen gardens of every shape and size from classic country to amazing ‘show’ gardens and grand formal gardens, together with a fun scarecrow trail. And in the afternoon of 11 June in the lovely hamlet of Olchard near Kingsteignton, there are eight beautiful gardens including charming cottage style gardens, substantial walled gardens, a water garden, large vegetable plots, and orchards with cider tastings. With visitor dates throughout April, June and August, there’s also the Goodwill smallholding at Bickington near Newton Abbot consisting of a three-acre plot with a mix of cottage garden plants, wildflowers and no dig organic beds full of cut flowers, vegetables and soft fruit. This small farm also boasts pet chickens, ducks and micropigs as well as Granny Pat’s tiny farm shop. In addition, there are community gardens, bee and butterfly-friendly sanctuaries, and gardens with breath-taking sea and estuary views.
“As well as the community Open Garden events, we’re also offering the exclusive chance to book a tour of the stunning and tranquil hospice gardens – taking in the mediterranean gardens, the walled garden, beautiful ancient woodland and bee hives,” said Debbi. “You can enjoy the local wildlife by listening to the bird song and the tapping of the woodpeckers, watching the antics of the squirrels in our spectacular woodland, and you may even get an exciting glimpse of a pair of falcons. For our younger visitors, there will be a fun trail to explore. While you’re here, you can also visit Rainbow House in the hospice grounds to view our ‘40 Years of Care’ photo exhibition that celebrates the lives of the tens of the thousands of people who have been cared for by the hospice since we first opened in 1982.”
The Open Garden days in the grounds of the hospice in Avenue Road, Torquay will take place on 30 April, 1 May, 2 May, 7 May and 8 May between 11am and 4pm. Tours can be booked in advance at www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk/opengardens – the cost is £4 per adult; children are free. The programme will feature live music, a café in a marquee and fascinating gardening talks by guest speakers Diane Long and Sue Minter from the Devon Gardens Trust. Covering topics such as the history of Rowcroft’s gardens, sensory and scented gardens, the use of colour, Victorian walled gardens, and how to garden in a small space, Diane Long is speaking on 2 May and Sue Minter on 7 May.
Di Feasby is a volunteer gardener at the hospice. Her husband Steve was cared for in Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit before he passed away. Di said:
“When my husband Steve was in Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit, he loved looking out at the gardens. The sense of peace and calm they brought was really special. It was just another way that Rowcroft did everything they could to make every moment the best it could be.
Now, I’m a volunteer gardener in the Rowcroft gardens and love making them as beautiful as they can be so that more people can enjoy them. Please do come and see them for yourself this summer.”
Details of all the Open Gardens events can be found on Rowcroft’s website at www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk/opengardens along with information regarding parking, facilities and admission donations/fees. Money raised from the events will be used to fund the specialist care that Rowcroft provides each year to 2000 adults living with life-limiting illnesses across South Devon.