Banish the winter blues and visit a garden for a bit of horticultural inspiration and a warm welcome from the owners – perhaps even a cup of tea and a bun.
Visiting an NGS private garden, paying a modest entry donation, having a chat with the owner and enjoying that cuppa raised more than £134,000 last year – a record amount for Yorkshire gardens supporting NGS charities.
Yes, it’s the open season, when private gardens throughout the country raise millions of pounds for a host of charities.
It begins with a trickle as one or two gardens brave the butt end of winter. Snowdrops and early spring bulbs are the mainstays at this time of year, but as Nature begins to get into her stride, weekends become packed with the chance to visit gardens great and small.
In Yorkshire, there are more than 120 gardens opening this year, and all are listed in a free booklet, Yorkshire Gardens 2014, which gives details of opening times, what to see, where to go and how much it will cost.
Many gardens will open on a day especially for the National Gardens Scheme; others can be visited only by prior arrangement.
Seventeen new gardens will open throughout Yorkshire this year, including The Jungle Garden, a fabulous example of lush planting in a Leeds suburb where palm trees, bananas and bamboos erupt into a tropical paradise in summer.
Marston Grange, a country garden with views to the Battlefield of Marston Moor offers more than a touch of history with walks through wildflower meadows.
Above the River Aire, a steeply sloping garden interlaced with paths and terraces is planted for colour and interest beneath mature trees and shrubs at 2 Newlay Grove, Horsforth.