The NGS Yellow books are available through the UK now and I’m sure we are all planning to visit a few whether they are local gardens or making a trip to visit gardens further afield.

It’s an interesting thought opening your garden for the NGS. You have to be vetted by NGS they visit your garden thoughts race through your head is my garden big enough? would people want to visit my garden? why would people want to visit my garden?  I was in the same situation until a good friend suggest I contact NGS and see if they would like me to join the ‘yellow book’ and help raise money for charities.

So I sent the initial email to my local NGS volunteer  and eagerly awaited a reply.

A couple of days later my phone rang and after a lovely chat with the NGS volunteer  we arranged for her to visit my garden. Yes she has a tick list but an hour later she was very complimentary about my garden and how it would progress as I had acquired an adjoining piece of land to transform into a delightful cottage garden before it opens for visitors. We discussed when I wanted to open my garden and I suggested End of May 2017 giving me plenty of time to design and plant up my new garden and for it all to establish and not look ‘too new’. Long way off it seems but gives me the chance to see how it looks this Summer and what places need filling with plants or pruning etc…

Ireceived_10207494410901727t’s kinda exciting not too daunting as I open my garden for our biennial Village Hook Open Gardens and love talking to people about my garden, plants etc…. I always taking cuttings so have some plants to sell too everyone loves to buy a plant or two!!  I have a lovely neighbour who bakes delicious scones and with my homemade jams and clotted cream we offer cream teas to our visitors who can sit and relax in my garden (or even buy a couple of scones to take home with them)




Its also a great fundraiser for your own village if you want to run your own Open Garden Event. I took up the reins in 2011 when we discussed the idea and we run it biennially opening 12-15 gardens all shapes and sizes involving the whole village community groups. Hook WI serve refreshments at Hook Memorial Hall all day, some villagers who open their garden also may run a cake or plant stall to tempt visitors.  We run it as a one day event and raised £1000 last year but you have to publicise your event websites, posters, leaflet, social media s and visitors came from all over Yorkshire to visit our little village Hook in East Yorkshire.


So go for it open your garden for NGS charities or for your community fundraising…..

by Justine Dixon (Founder of Hook Gardening Club & Hook Open Gardens Organiser)