Whether visiting a garden with friends and family or on your own, the impact it can have on your mood is quite remarkable. The benefits of being outside in a beautiful space with time to enjoy the plants, scents, colours and wildlife are now well documented and more people are making time in the diaries to enjoy these precious moments.
While there are gardens open throughout the summer the National Garden Scheme’s annual Gardens and Health Week is dedicated to promoting the positive impact gardens can have on physical and mental health. It is a useful way of reminding ourselves why we choose to visit gardens and to remember how much we can take away from these trips. This year
Gardens and Health Week runs from 7th – 15th May.
Here are the gardens opening in Essex for the National Garden Scheme during the week:
The two-acre garden at Bassetts in Little Baddow CM3 4BZ is opening on Friday 6 and Sunday 8 May, 10.30am until 5pm. Admission £5 for adults and children free. Here it is possible to enjoy long views over the surrounding countryside as well as lots of spring flowers and shrubs.
The Old Vicarage in Broxted CM6 2BU is opening on Sunday 8 May (and again on Sunday 19 June) 12 until 5pm. Admission £6 and children free. This is a four-acre garden with deep mixed borders filled with traditional and more unusual plants in which to completely unwind.
1 Whitehouse Cottages in Woodham Walter CM9 6LR is opening on Sunday 8 May (and again on 19 June and 17 July) between 10am and 3.30pm, admission £4 for adults. This very popular garden is a haven for wildlife (and for visitors) with its skilful planting of traditional cottage garden plants in soft and muted colours.
Barnards Farm in West Horndon CM13 3FY is opening every Thursday until 1 September but why not visit on 12 May as part of Gardens and Health Week when the 54 acres will provide space to really clear the mind. Open from 11am until 4.30pm, Admission for adults is £8.50, children free.
For peace and tranquillity head to Feeringbury Manor CO5 9RB which is open every Thursday and Friday until 29 July. Open 10am until 4pm admission for adults is £6, children free. This is a beautiful and creative garden with sculptures as well as a huge number of plants and trees to enjoy.
14 Clifton Terrace in Wivenhoe CO7 9DY is opening both days of the weekend 14 and 15 May, 12 until 5pm each day. Admission for adults is £4, with children free. This is a fascinating garden next to the railway station that includes herbaceous borders, vegetables, woodland and ponds.
Recognised by the Daily Mail as a garden that has provided health benefits for the owner, Peacocks in Margaretting CM4 9HY is opening on Sunday 15 May (and again on 12 and 19 June and 3 July), 11am until 4pm with admission £5. It was winner of the Daily Mail National Garden Competition in 2021.
Another large, mature garden can be found at The Old Rectory in Great Leighs CM3 1PP. It is new to the National Garden Scheme this year and is opening on Sunday 15 May (again on Sunday 21 August) 12 until 4.30pm, admission £7 for adults, children free. Enjoy wisteria, wide herbaceous borders, lovely trees and rural views.
Teas and refreshments will be served at the gardens and some plants will be available to buy. Visit ngs.org.uk to find more information on the gardens listed here including wheelchair access plus any last-minute changes to the opening times.
In 2021, the National Garden Scheme donated £235,000 of the total £3.03million in charitable donations to gardens and health-related projects run by charities including Horatio’s Garden and Maggie’s.