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TheVillage Gardening

New recruits join regulars

Posted on April 30 2018 at 2:57:55 0 comments

B'ham Rd

Dave Morgan looks forward to the bi-annual opening of diverse gardens in Alvechurch.

Garden lovers in Alvechurch and those in the neighbouring hamlet of Withybed Green open their gardens to raise money for charity through the National Garden Scheme on alternate years – and in 2018 it’s Alvechurch’s turn to open.

They really do offer value for money for those who enjoy visiting gardens.

Nine individual gardens open on Saturday and Sunday June 23 and Sunday June 24 between 1 and 6pm – and at £5, combined entry means that each garden costs the visitor less than 60 pence. Surely wonderful value.

Alvechurch Gardens have opened seven times for the NGS, raising more than £30,000 for charities such as Marie Curie, Macmillan Nurses and Parkinson’s UK.

This year, however, one garden owner, Celia Hitch at Rectory Cottage, celebrates ten years of opening – having opened on her own on three occasions when the rest of the Alvechurch Gardens remained closed.

George and Celia

At the recent Worcestershire Garden Owners meeting the CEO of the National Garden Scheme, George Plumptre, presented Celia with an engraved trowel to recognise her achievement (left).

Celia’s garden is like a series of different gardens, including a courtyard garden with pergolas and planted up with roses and hostas, a long riverside garden, a secret garden, waterside borders, patios, the “dragon’s den”, ponds, a waterfall and even an aviary with budgerigars.

The gardens range from a riverside rectory with waterfall to a corner plot “gardened” for wildlife.

There’s a professionally-landscaped terraced garden and a cottage garden with lots of colour in pots, and a wrap-around informal garden, plus a sloped garden with potted plants and shrubs, and a garden with wooden bridge, decking and pebbled areas.

And then around the various gardens there are rose beds, shrubberies, herbaceous beds and fruit and vegetable gardens, while many gardens include sculptures – so something for everyone.

This year Alvechurch welcomes three new gardens opening for the first time, including the Moat House, a large garden on the site of the Bishop of Worcester’s Summer Palace, dating from the 12th and 13th centuries.

Although the remains of the building were demolished in the 17th century, three-quarters of the original moat is still in existence and classified as an “Ancient Monument”. 

There are large mixed herbaceous and shrub borders and a footbridge across the moat to an old orchard. There is a large well-planted rockery with pond and waterfall.

There are also new gardens on Birmingham Road and Bear Hill, the latter featuring the owner’s art studio.

So make a note in your diary, because if you miss the opportunity this year you’ll probably have to wait another two years before most of these gardens open again!

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