Walled garden reveals its secrets for charity

The Gardens of Whaltopn Manour  house and Penny Norton.
The Gardens of Whaltopn Manour house and Penny Norton.

A PRIVATE walled garden will reveal its hidden delights this weekend in a charity open day.

Whalton Manor Garden has attracted national acclaim for its colourful features, planting and landscaping since it was designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll in 1908.

But while group visits can be arranged, the grounds are not usually open to the public.

This weekend, however, members of the public can take a peek inside as the gates are thrown open as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

The programme runs nationwide, with thousands of gardens opening up to visitors to raise money for several charities.

Organisations supported through the scheme are Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Crossroads, Help the Hospices, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Perennial Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society, The Royal Fund for Gardeners’ Children and The National Trust.

Penny Norton, who owns the Whalton garden, said: “There are quite a few gardens in the north east that open for the National Gardens Scheme and we have done it for quite a long time.

“We always used to open the garden for the Red Cross for about 25 years, but because we only do one big charity day a year we thought we would give some other charities a chance.”

The 17th Century manor house has been in the hands of the Norton family since 1920 and generations have taken great care to develop and enhance the garden to make it the magical place it is today.

Set in three acres, the beautiful grounds include a luscious rose garden, densely planted herbaceous borders, ancient walls and pergolas festooned with many varieties of climbing rose and clematis.

There is a vast stone courtyard with a circular staircase, hexagonal summer houses and many more architectural gems.

“The garden is not normally open to the public, but it is an historic garden and a lot of people know about it,” said Mrs Norton.

“It is looking wonderful at the moment.

“People can come along, look around the gardens and have tea. We have propagated a vast amount of plants that we have growing in the garden and we will have many plants for sale.”

The garden will be open on Sunday, from 2pm to 5.30pm. Admission costs £3.50 for adults and is free for children.