Chris Bamforth-Damp joined us on Tuesday 16th November to give us an insight into his garden. Chris is a Minister at The John Bunyan Meeting House and his house and garden are near Bedford Park. Since 2015 Chris has opened his garden to the public under the National Garden Scheme and he began his talk by telling us about the Scheme. The National Garden Scheme was founded in 1927 when, in order to raise money for district nurses, garden owners were asked to open their gardens to the public for a shilling a head. That year 609 gardens were open and raised a total of £8,191.
By 2021 over 3,600 gardens, 35 allotment groups and 21 hospice gardens were part of the scheme in England and Wales. The gardens vary in size and showcase many different styles and features. The main consideration during assessment to be included in the Scheme is that the garden should be able to provide 45 minutes worth of interest for visitors. The funds raised during these open days go to support all aspects of nursing and health charities including, for example, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute. In 2020 £2.8 million was raised. The annual Yellow Handbook detailing where these gardens are and when they are open to the public is well known to most gardeners.Chris moved to his house in Bedford in 2006 and photos from that time depict a daunting task. The garden had been a dumping ground for building materials, it was overgrown with huge trees and by any standards presented something of a challenge. To begin with the trees were felled, a flower bed was cut into the middle of the lawn and a gravel path was laid. However, it was during the Queen’s Jubilee year in 2012 that the lawn was shrunk, flower borders grew and the garden really started to take off. Chris showed us lovely photos of the perennials and annuals that are densely planted and now provide a wealth of colour and interest throughout the seasons. We saw hanging baskets and patio areas with ferns and hostas, a large green house filled with seedlings in the spring as Chris grows most of his plants from seed. Sweet peas and beans clinging to wigwams, there is a pond and, not to be forgotten, chickens, geese and ducks. The whole garden is a joy to behold and it is clear from the discussion that ensued that many of our members will be beating a path to this garden next year.
Thank you Chris for taking us on your garden journey – we can see why you have had such a positive response to opening your garden to the public – it is clearly delightful.
Please join us on Tuesday 21st December at 7.30 pm on Zoom for our Christmas Quiz. On 18th January 2022, on Zoom, we very much look forward to members of the BGA presenting their gardens in Biddenham. We also invite you to join us on Tuesday 15th February on Zoom for Lucy Hartley’s Part 3 of “Designing a Border from Scratch”. Details can be found on our website. As usual all these meetings will be open to all members and visitors. For our March meeting we hope, all things being well, to be back in action in the Village Hall. Linda Truscott
New members and visitors are always welcome. For more information contact:
Linda Truscott on 01234 270747