Garden to reveal its secrets

Clare Stephenson preparing her garden at Eland Green Farm for the open garden event she is hosting to raise money for the Red Cross. GM044209

Clare Stephenson preparing her garden at Eland Green Farm for the open garden event she is hosting to raise money for the Red Cross. GM044209

A 200-year-old garden is to be opened to the public for the first time this weekend.

Clare Stephenson, pictured, is opening up her plot at Eland Green Farm in Ponteland in aid of the British Red Cross.

The property has been in her family since 1803 and the two-acre grounds include lawns, a rockery, herbaceous plants and fruit, vegetable and herb gardens.

Ms Stephenson said: “My family bought the farm in 1803 and it have been a family house from then. I know my father’s mother did a lot in the garden and she was a very keen gardener, but I wouldn’t know how it developed further back than that.

“I don’t have a lot of gardening knowledge myself, but I do like it to be tidy. This is the first time I have taken part in the British Red Cross Open Gardens scheme. It was just that one or two friends suggested I should open the garden to the public.

“The Red Cross can’t tell me how many people I might get coming along, but as the garden hasn’t been open before it thinks there might be quite a few. I just hope for good weather, that is the main thing for an open garden.”

Visitors will be able to wander around the garden at their leisure, and there will be other activities going on.

Ponteland Lions Club will be serving afternoon tea to raise funds, and the organisation will also have a small book stall. It will sell mainly gardening books, but other genres may be available.

For the more active visitors, there is the offer of a tennis challenge.

Ms Stephenson’s ten-year-old grandson and other members of Ponteland Tennis Club will be challenging people to a game on the farm’s courts for a small fee.

She said: “I’m looking forward to the event and I might do it again in the future. It depends how the garden stands up to having a lot of people walking around, and also how much we raise. We’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.”

Ms Stephenson will be available to chat to visitors about her garden on the day.

Last year the British Red Cross Open Gardens programme raised more than £160,000 to support people in crisis in the UK and overseas. There were more than 160 gardens to see, which attracted 12,000 visitors.

Anyone can take part in the scheme, which welcomes gardens of all shapes and sizes, from small cottages to whole villages. Volunteers can offer assistance prior to the event and on the day itself. For more information email opengardens@redcross.org.uk

Eland Green Farm garden can be found opposite North Road. It will be open on Sunday, from 11am to 4.30pm. Admission costs £3.50 for adults and £1 for accompanied children.




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