Open Gardens – On or Off?

Green-fingered Phantom-readers may remember the discussion about The Pagoda a couple of months back. At the time I promised to let you know the one night of the year it’s open for charity as part of the National Gardens Scheme. If you recall, three gardens in close proximity to each other open on the same evening, and a very civilised event it is too, as you quaff a glass or two of wine on a warm June night, drinking in the atmosphere and the perfumed lushness, slowly slipping into quiet oblivion as the ‘charitable donations’ mount up…

Well, as usual, I’ve bought the deeply user-unfriendly Yellow Book, but Horrors! There’s only one listed in there.

28, Granville Park, SE13, in between Lewisham and Blackheath was the furthest of the three, but no great distance to walk from one to the other. It’s a charming garden on several levels with different ‘rooms’ – lovely indeed. I remember a lovely round lawn and a sweet terrace with palms, as well as a crazy-paved secret bit at the end. It will be open on Friday 13th June from 6.00pm until 9.00pm, price £3.50.

But of 12, Eliot Vale, SE3 (a wheelchair-friendly garden that weaves the visitor in and out of different styles of plants and a high-level pond) and the Pagoda itself, both usually open on those nights, there is no mention.

Why? I have no idea. Maybe they’re not exhibiting this year. Perhaps the owners have moved. Or – and this is a wild guess – it could be that they ARE still open, but not part of NGS. I note in the Yellow Book from last year that 12 Eliot Vale were giving part of their funds to a different charity than the official NGS causes. I wonder whether they’ve decided to donate all their money to the other causes this year and thus made themselves ineligible for the NGS?

Does anyone know? Are these gardens all going to be open on June 13th? Or any other time? I’d miss my annual fix of floral fun…

There’s one more garden listed that’s not a million miles away – the Hither Green end of Blackheath. 41 Southbrook Road SE12, open Sunday 8th June 2-5pm. I’ve not been so I have no idea what it’s like. Oh – and I’ll be looking out for the Bexley Cottage Hospice events too – though they are even further afield…


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