Great Garden Trail celebrates bumper weekend

St Elizabeth Hospice is celebrating a bumper weekend of gardens as 28 green fingered supporters open their gardens for the Great Garden Trail.

The trail sponsored by Bedfords Estate Agents, runs throughout the summer until autumn and offers the public the opportunity to explore a wide variety of gardens in return for a donation to St Elizabeth Hospice.

This weekend, the public have the chance to visit 28 different gardens, with many close to each other, making it easier for people to visit several events in one day or over the weekend. These include four open village events; North East Ipswich Opens Gardens, Snape Open Gardens, Shelley Open Gardens, the Trail at Aldeburgh as well as three individual gardens to visit.

One garden opening this weekend holds a special place in the heart of one hospice supporter who has a close connection the hospice. Jane Hudson from Lower Raydon, decided to open her garden this year in memory of her husband David, who spent the last two weeks of his life at St Elizabeth Hospice.

Jane said: “When my husband and I moved into the former pub in 1986, we had to start the 1 ½ acre garden from scratch. We took a lot of advice from friends who were keen gardeners and we drew up a plan for a new garden. David loved being in the garden and he enjoyed propagating plants and growing things from seed as he had done in his parents’ garden when he was younger.

“We decided to plant lots of trees and now 33 years later, it’s wonderful to see how tall the Cotoneaster trees are now at 30-40ft tall. Their long branches covered in red berries are perfect for flower arranging.

“The night David died in the hospice, I had a dream that my garden had an archway with a bed of blue and white flowers and I knew I wanted to add this into the garden. As you walk through the gate, I now have the lovely flower bed which is dedicated to David.”

You can visit Jane’s garden at the Old Fox in Lower Raydon as part of the Shelley Open Gardens event on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June from 2 – 5:30pm.

Fiona Ginn, community fundraiser at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “The Great Garden Trail is going really well so far, and we’re really excited for our busy few months ahead.

“We couldn’t organise such a vast calendar of gardening events without the support of people like Jane, so we would like to thank each and every one of them for donating their time and gardening spaces for others to enjoy.

“Last year the trail raised over £31,000 and we hope we can beat this total, so that we can continue to support more families like Jane’s in our community.”

Michael Bedford, Partner of Bedfords Estate Agents, said: “We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Great Garden Trail for the third year. We are a family business so we wanted to support the fantastic work of the hospice. The trail is a wonderful community event as it allows people to discover the best outdoor spaces and it ties in our community philosophy.”

Saturday 8 June

On Saturday, you can explore ten Ipswich gardens which vary in size, styles and designs as part of the North East Ipswich Open Gardens. All are cared for by enthusiastic amateur gardeners and you can come enjoy a selection of refreshments. Entry is £5 for adults and children can enter for free.

Discover Naunton Hall in Rendlesham which boasts over seven acres of garden, overlooking the Deben Valley. This garden features herbaceous borders and rose beds. Entry is £5 for adults and children can visit for free.

A number of cottage gardens are opening in Snape on Saturday where you can explore the quaint and quirky uses of space with water features, trees, flowers and shrubs. Donations are requested for entry and children can enter for free.


Sunday 9 June

Stour in East Bergholt is a larger garden with outstanding southerly views over Dedham Vale. The garden features extensive lawns, with herbaceous and mixed borders and trees as wells as several ponds and water features, with a wet garden by a seasonal stream. Entry is £5 for adults and children can enter for free.

The Brambles in Clopton is a dynamic plantsman’s garden which has been planted to encourage birds and wildlife. It has been developed over the last six years and contains many unusual plants, herbaceous borders, over 40 different roses and a pond. Entry for adults is £3.50 and under 16s can enter for free.


Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June

On both Saturday and Sunday you can discover a selection of gardens around the village of Shelley, including a Georgian Farm House, a moated garden, an unusual shabby chic garden, a captivating garden which displays Three National Plant Collections and another that was believed to be an Elizabethan hunting lodge. Entry is £5 and under 16s can enter for free.

Explore the trail at Aldeburgh on both Saturday and Sunday where both art and craft are combined, with over 30 artists and craftsman displaying their work. You can also explore some natural and varied gardens with seafront views. Donations are requested for entry.

Great Garden Trail maps are available to download online and can also be found in all St Elizabeth Hospice shops as well as selected garden centres and nurseries around the county.

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