Over 3500 private gardens across the country take turns to open their gates to the public every year. As a result we get to enjoy a lovely day out and it all happens in the name of charity. A wonderful idea which raises millions of pounds for nursing and health charities. The National garden scheme generated £3.1 million in the past year alone.
The nearest gardens to us opening this weekend is in the village of Boreham situated in the City of Chelmsford. As we enter the city a board greets us inviting us to ‘the birthplace of radio’. It was here that Marconi set up his first ‘Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company’ in 1898, four years after transmitting radio signals over one and a half miles.
The first house we go to has a quaint cottage style garden. An explosion of colour greets us as we walk around. Flowers and shrubs of different shapes and sizes have been planted to complement and bring the best out of the arrangement. There are scattered seating areas, where visitors are lounging and enjoying the experience. From here we walk to the next garden.
At the entrance we are met by the owner who gives us a map marking important points in his garden with directions for walks around the large central meadow and outside wooded area with a stream running through it. In the main part of the garden the lady of the house is doing brisk trade with her home made cakes and cream tea. Her friends and children are helping serve the delicious looking desserts. We order a couple of creams teas for ourselves, a cake for Lakshmi and find a shaded garden seat. The warm freshly baked scones with dollops of clotted cream and strawberry jam melts in our mouth. Lakshmi picks out the cranberries from her cake before finishing it off. The leaflets left on the garden tables remind us of the people who are benefitting from the money raised from these events. Children come to clear the table and we follow the signs and walk around the massive garden. Lakshmi takes advantage of the freedom and runs around.
The next two houses have small but perfectly designed gardens. The last house is owned by a young couple with a toddler. The little girl follows us and says hello to Lakshmi. Lakshmi is shy and doesn’t want to talk to her. I sit down on the raised patio with Lakshmi and the little girl joins us. I remind Lakshmi of how she felt a couple of weeks back when children at an engagement party wouldn’t play with her despite Lakshmi trying her best to engage with them. She was desperately sad that day but perked up when I reminded her that she has her own good friends waiting to play with her the next day at the childminder’s house. At this point she ran off, started running around the dance floor on her own, entertaining herself and the girls were forgotten. Lakshmi slowly comes out of her shyness and says hello to the little girl who has been patiently waiting to talk to her. It is getting late, we say our goodbyes and make our way home.