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pounds 50,000 and rising; The Midland couple whose green fingers have been helping charity for 21years.

A Midland couple with a passion for plants will open their idyllic cottage garden to the public for charity on Sunday.

It will be the 21st year running that Margaret and Peter Hargreaves, of Barton-under-Needwood, show their beautiful cottage garden.

The pair, who won praise from celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh last year, aim to boost funds for a range of charities with a series of open days. A quarter of the money raised this year will go to Alzheimer's Research UK, the UK's leading dementia research charity.

Each year the couple open their garden at Grafton Cottage as part of the National Gardens Scheme, giving visitors a chance to see their stunning borders filled with colourful sweetpeas, violas, clematis and more, as well as their collection of perfumed roses.

Margaret and Peter's planting skills featured on ITV's Love Your Garden last year, when presenter Titchmarsh said a visit to the idyllic cottage garden was like being 'transplanted back in time'.

The couple will be serving cream teas and scones, and visitors will be able to sample their homemade jam, made from home-grown produce.

Plants grown from cuttings from the garden will also be available to buy and take home as a reminder of the visit. Over the years the open days have raised nearly pounds 50,000 for charity, and this year Margaret and Peter hope to increase that total even more.

Peter said: "We're looking forward to welcoming visitors to our garden this year and we hope that they'll take as much pleasure from spending time in it as we do.

"Gardening is our passion, and it's so rewarding to share that with others - especially as it allows us to raise money for good causes like dementia research in the process.

"Every year we've been overwhelmed by the number of people who've come to enjoy our little oasis and boosted our fund- raising efforts.

"We chose Alzheimer's Research UK as one of our charities because so many people are affected by dementia, and research is vital to tackling this devastating condition.

"Our open days are a lot of hard work, but knowing that the money we raise will help the search for new treatments makes it all worthwhile."

Miranda Mays, Community Fund-Raising Manager at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "Margaret and Peter have already made a valuable contribution to our work with their past fund-raising efforts, and it's fantastic to see them open their garden in aid of dementia research once more.

"Every pounds 20 raised will fund an hour of pioneering research, and we can't thank them enough for their dedication.

"There are nearly 10,000 people affected by dementia in Staffordshire alone, yet we still lack effective treatments for the condition.

"Research is the only answer to dementia, and we rely on wonderful supporters like Margaret and Peter to fund our research."

Grafton Cottage, in Barr Lane, Barton-under-Needwood, will open on Sunday from 11.30am-5pm, Sunday, July 15, from 1.30-5pm and Sunday, August 5, from 11.30am-5pm. Entry is pounds 3 for adults, free for children. For more information or to arrange a group booking, call Peter or Margaret on 01283 713639.

Alzheimer's Research UK is the UK's leading charity specialising in finding preventions, treatments and a cure for dementia. Visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.

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Margaret and Peter Hargreaves, from Barton-under-Needwood in Staffordshire, are proud of their idyllic English cottage garden
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 28, 2012
Words:565
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