National Garden Scheme Pat Howe at Dale Farm painting autumnal scene
Pat Howe at Dale Farm painting autumnal scene.

National Garden Scheme Paints a Bright Picture

In another record breaking year for the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) in Norfolk over £82,000 has been raised for nursing and caring charities by garden owners and their visitors. £1000 of that total was achieved by amateur artist Pat Howe.

Back in July 2012 at a Dale Farm Garden open day, retired Norfolk head teacher and amateur artist Pat Howe asked if she could do some watercolours and drawings of plants and wildlife in the garden. Owners Sally and Graham Watts happily agreed and Pat who lives nearby then became a regular visitor. Pat is recovering from two bouts of cancer and having received support from Macmillan Cancer Support herself was keen to help raise funds for the NGS. She decided to reproduce her watercolours as greetings cards selling them at the Dale Farm open day in 2013 when she sold 100 and raised £150. Encouraged by her success Pat managed to persuade two outlets in Dereham and one in Swaffham to stock the cards plus selling at several local craft/art fairs. All of this led to a magnificent £1000 which Pat generously donated this year to the NGS. With a 2015 calendar recently introduced, and more card designs on the way the NGS charities will continue to benefit from Pat’s energetic and generous support in 2015.

Sally Watts explained “It is lovely to see Pat so enthusiastic as she was really down with all her health problems when we first met, and in spite of endless periods in hospital she always seems to bounce back. She is a real inspiration”.

County Organiser Fiona Black said “This year we have benefitted from plenty of good weather, the support of our enthusiastic garden owners and Pat’s marvellous contribution is the icing on the cake, homemade of course!”


  • Founded in 1927, the National Gardens Scheme gave £2.2 million to nursing and other caring charities in 2013 from money raised by opening more than 3800 private gardens in England and Wales.
  • Charities supported by the National Gardens Scheme this year include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Help the Hospices, The Carers Trust and Parkinson’s UK.
  • Visitors to the NGS website can use the online ‘garden search’ tool to find out which NGS gardens are open on specific dates and within chosen areas throughout the year.
  • The free NGS iOS app for iPhone and iPad will allow visitors to see what’s on and share garden opening details with friends via Facebook and Twitter.


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