left to right, Andrew Buxton(owner of Hoveton Hall Gardens, Anthea Foster(NGS County organiser) and Annie Tempest
Andrew Buxton, owner of Hoveton Hall Gardens, Anthea Foster, NGS County organiser, and Annie Tempest

The launch of the 2013 Norfolk National Gardens Scheme(NGS) yellow guide heralds the start of the garden visiting season, and is keenly anticipated by the many people who enjoy seeking out gardens which are rarely on public view.

Annie Tempest, the well known cartoonist, sculptor and keen gardener, launched the 2013 guide at Hoveton Hall on February 5th and present were owners of the 65 gardens opening this year. Annie said “I always thought NGS stood for non gardening spouse! but now realize the open gardens scheme supports vital nursing and caring charities. I also believe there are three stages in a women’s life, horses, hormones and horticulture! I have have reached the third stage and inspired by the garden owners present today, the Totterings will be opening in the future for the NGS”.

There are 13 new and returning gardens opening during 2013, and along with many old favourites there will be something for everyone, from the grand country estates to groups of small town gardens. Among the new gardens is Elsing Hall which is a magnificent Tudor mansion, complete with working moat and classic rose gardens. The Hall was a finalist in England’s Favourite House competition. In complete contrast is Cherry Tree cottage at Northacre which is a long narrow garden, typically found at many terraced properties, but here, the owners have created a garden full of interest and great ideas, which shows how you can overcome a challenging situation.

Anthea Foster, Norfolk County Organiser, said “This year we have the greatest variety and quality of gardens I can remember for some time. We are very fortunate in Norfolk to have so many loyal and generous visitors to our gardens, who together with our dedicated garden owners, last year managed to raise a magnificent £75,000 for the nursing and caring charities we support. This was despite some difficult weather conditions and represents an increase of 10% compared to 2012”.

The season gets off to a great start this Sunday the 10th February 2013 at Lexham Hall, nr Litcham PE32 2QJ.

With a glorious display of snowdrops, aconites and many winter flowering and scented shrubs to seek out. The gardens and parkland are open from 11am to 4 pm with admission £5, and children free. Home-made teas and warming bowls of soup will be available.

Pick up a copy of the Norfolk NGS 2013 Guide at your local Tourist Information Centre, Library, Garden Centre and Nursery or visit www.ngs.org.uk

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