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TheVillage Gardening

Lost gardens of Burcot

Posted on July 25 2014 at 10:14:12 0 comments

Greenhill garden

Dave Morgan encourages proud garden owners in Burcot (and other local villages) to show off their hard work under the National Gardens Scheme.

Anyone who has been to the Lost Gardens of Heligan can’t help but be amazed and perhaps enchanted by the uncovering of the gardens that were effectively buried under weeds and ignored for so long.

You might even feel a little saddened by the loss of all the gardening expertise after the First World War that led to the decline of those gardens, especially as this year is the 100th anniversary of the start of that awful carnage.

But “Lost Gardens” in Burcot? Is there a Heligan in Worcestershire? Well, I suppose there may be, but that is not what is meant here by “lost gardens”.

What I am searching for are those home owners in and around Burcot who enjoy gardening and have created some lovely gardens that they keep all to themselves and don’t share with other keen gardeners. So in a way they are “lost” to the general public.

And the reason for this search is that as County Organiser for the National Gardens Scheme (NGS), which raises millions of pounds each year for healthcare and nursing charities such as Macmillan’s Nurses and Marie Curie, I am constantly on the look out for new gardens that could open under the scheme and increase the enjoyment for the garden owners and garden visitors – whilst at the same time raising valuable funds that will provide nursing and other care for others.

So why Burcot? Well, to start with, one garden owner in the village has already offered his garden – Chris Franklin, on Greenhill – and this is a very neat and well-kept garden (pictured) designed for minimum maintenance and maximum enjoyment.

But we need more! What would be ideal is three or four gardens, perhaps in easy walking distance from (say) Fresh@Burcot Garden Centre, which could open as a small group of gardens. Well, there is already a Burcot Gardening Club, so why not Burcot Village Gardens?

It seems quite strange that in the 10 years I have been involved with the NGS I don’t think that there have ever been any gardens open in Burcot, and I can’t believe there aren’t any worth visiting.

But I’m not just picking on Burcot – where are the wonderful gardens of Blackwell and Barnt Green, Cofton Hackett and Finstall and all the other villages and hamlets covered by this magazine?

Alvechurch managed 11 open gardens in June and last year the small area of Withybed Green had seven gardens open – surely there are other gardens that should be seen by the general public?

So what exactly are we looking for? Well, traditionally we have looked for about 30 or so minutes of “interest”, so the actual garden size doesn’t matter; it’s what’s in it that counts. Interest can be made up of planting schemes, unusual specimens, water features, walkways, views – all sorts of things.

Within the NGS are gardens that include old gardening equipment, interesting artefacts and even artwork created by the garden owners, as well as exotic plants and glorious beds of colourful perennials. 

And if a single garden can’t provide that amount of interest, then that’s where the value of a small group comes in, as several smaller gardens could well provide as much if not more interest than one large garden.

In addition, of course, the garden has to be fairly well maintained and there should be easy access (e.g. through a gate or garage, not through the house), and of course car parking needs to be thought about. But that is what the Worcestershire NGS county team can help with by providing advice or making suggestions.

If you are interested in talking to someone about opening (or re-opening) your garden for the NGS – or indeed if you live in Burcot and can support Chris by adding your garden to his – please contact one of the county team, whose contact details can be found in the Worcestershire leaflet, the NGS “Yellow Book” or online at http://www.ngs.org.uk

You can contact Dave Morgan on 07860 438372 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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