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Charity begins in the garden; Karen Overbury catches an early glimpse of a rarely-seen private garden being opened for charity this weekend.

HERE'S something wonderfully British about opening your garden for charity.

TFriends of mine have done it for years, working hard to ensure that every blade of grass is cut to a uniform length, borders are weed-free, plants are meticulously staked, blooms are at their beautiful best, paths are carefully raked and edges are not just trimmed but shaped with engineering precision.

There's the car parking to arrange and signage to organise. The list goes on and on.

And, of course, there's that essential for a stroll around a garden - afternoon tea. Jam is made and baking starts months in advance. Fruit cakes are left to mature, lemon cakes are drizzled a day or two in advance, Victoria sponges sandwiched together the day before and, last minute, scones are brought from the oven, warm and wonderful.

Friends are volunteered, family members are banned from holidays. The organisation and cost of preparing to open a garden for charity are phenomenal.

Every week over the summer in homemaker we feature gardens open for a range of charities. A visit to a garden is ridiculously cheap and it's a great way of travelling around our wonderful region.

Despite the recent chill and rain, garden owners across the region are preparing for more open days this weekend.

One opening tomorrow - the only day of the year it will be open, to raise funds for the Red Cross - is the superb garden at Halton Castle, home of Sir Hugh and Lady Blackett.

It's a garden I've wanted to visit for a long time, but I'll be away this weekend. Luckily, I managed to catch an early glimpse. despite this week's unseasonal weather.

It's looking spectacular. I won't spoli it for you, but there are terraced garden with herbaceous borders, shrubs and lawns, beautiful beech hedges and spectacular views over the Tyne Valley.

This year, a folk band, The Cherry Pickers, will be playing in the garden.

There will be a plant stall and, of course, refreshments, including that essential of an open garden - home-made cakes . Entry to the garden is only PS3.50, with children free. A great bonus is that dogs, on leads, are allowed.

It has the makings of a splendid afternoon out. And to finish the day, visitors to the garden are invited to attend an Evensong service in the church beside the garden at 5pm.

Halton Castle, NE45 5PH, is a mile north of Corbridge and the garden will be open tomorrow from 2-6pm.

Keep in touch with North East gardening and floral events through this column every Saturday.

Today Warkworth and District Flower Club, coffee morning, Memorial Hall, 10am.

Tomorrow Garden open in aid of the Red Cross, Halton Castle, north of Corbridge, NE45 5PH, with homemade teas and plants stall, 2-6pm.

National Gardens Scheme, gardens open for charity ,Broaches Farm, Dalton, near Richmond, DL11 7HW, seven miles west of Scotch Corner, 20-year-old garden with ponds, stream, bog garden, borders and wooded area plus abundant wildlife, PS3 entry, 1-5pm; Forest Lane Gardens, 48 and 52 (The Hollies) Forest Lane, Kirklevington, near Yarm, TS15 9ND, no 48 has manicured lawns, borders, pond and water features, no 52 has an acre of beds, borders, wooded area and kitchen garden, entry PS4, 1-5pm; Mindrum Garden, Mindrum, nine miles northwest of Wooler, Northumberland, TD12 4QN, seven acres of romantic planting including scented shrubs, roses, lilies, herbs, glasshouses, rock garden and valley views, entry PS5, 2-5pm.

Open Gardens for Hospice Care North Northumberland, Mindrum House, Cornhill on Tweed,gardens, walks and views, entry PS5, 2-5pm.

Tuesday,June 21 Cleadon Flower Arrangement Society, monthly meeting, Cleadon Church Hall, 7.30pm.

Ferryhill, Sedgefield & District Flower Club, monthly meeting, Sedgefield Village Hall, 7.30 pm.

Ponteland Floral Art Club, talk, Memorial Hall, Ponteland, 7.30pm.

Sunderland Floral Art Club, monthly meeting, Royalty Studio Theatre, Chester Road, Sunderland, 2pm.

Weardale Flower Club, monthly meeting, Wolsingham Town Hall, 7pm.

Wednesday, June 22 Cheviot Valley's Flower Club, talk, Strictly Jeanious, by Jean Maclure, Whittingham Memorial Hall, near Alnwick, 7.30pm.

Lanchester and District Flower Club, Community Centre, monthly meeting, Newbiggin Lane, Lanchester, 2pm.

Morpeth Flower Club, monthly meeting, St James Centre, 7.30pm Teesdale Flower Club, meeting, Cotherstone Village Hall, 7.30pm.

Tynemouth Floral Art Club, summer pouting, Harlow Carr and Harrogate, leaving Holy Saviours' Church Hall, Manor Road, Tynemouth 9am.

Saturday, June 25 National Gardens Scheme, gardens open for charity, Fallodon Hall, NE66 3HF, five miles north of Alnwick, on B6347, established garden with flower and vegetable borders, greenhouse, woodland, arboretum and bog garden, PS4 entry, 2-5pm; Woodlands, Peareth Hall Road, Gateshead, NE9 7NT, quirky garden with tropical-themed planting, PS3 entry, 1.30-4.30pm.

Sunday, June 26 Garden open in aid of the Red Cross,Fallodon Hall, NE66 3HF, five miles north of Alnwick, on B6347, established garden with flower and vegetable borders, greenhouse, woodland, arboretum and bog garden, PS4 entry, 2-5.30pm; National Gardens Scheme, gardens open for charity, Romaldkirk Gardens, six miles north-west of Barnard Castle, DL12 9DZ, eight gardens of great variety in the attractive village plus home-made teas in The Reading Room in Romaldkirk, PS4 combined entry, 2-5.30pm; Stanton Fence, Stanton, five miles north-west of Morpeth, NE65 8PP, contemporary three-acre country garden, including rose-covered arbours, nuttery and kitchen garden, PS5 entry, noon-5pm.

Send programmes to Karen Overbury, Journal homemaker, Groat Market, Newcastle NE1 1ED or send to homemaker.gardening@ncjmedia.co.uk. Include time of event and enclose a name and phone number.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 18, 2016
Words:925
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