Published: 28 May 2013
Netherbury Open Gardens
Spend the weekend in a garden, or two! 2013 is the year when a Golden Jubilee is being celebrated in the heart of West Dorset.
Seventeen gardens will have their gates wide open to welcome visitors in this annual event on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June. The first gardens in the village of Netherbury opened up to visitors in 1963.

This local initiative was started by Mary Poole, who still lives in the village, to help with the upkeep of St Mary’s Church.  The greater part of the money raised still goes to the church but it also benefits other village concerns.  

The number of open gardens has varied over the years but some of those opening again this year were open at the very start and some have opened every year since then.

A garden for everyone

There will be a great variety of gardens to view including five that open for the National Garden Scheme; these are The Old Rectory, The Mill House, Hatchlands, Slape Manor and 2 Pye's Plot. The Mill House and The Old Rectory have recently had full length features in Country Life magazine, and 2 Pye’s Plot is featured in Dorset Life and Good Housekeeping. The village garden weekend event will be the only opportunity to see these all on the same day.

Besides these national stars there are a dozen other fascinating gardens scattered through the village and on the surrounding hills, providing a wealth of different styles and sizes. One has an amazing collection of roses – well over seventy varieties – and another has wonderful panoramic views over the surrounding country.  Some are small in size but brimming with content and others have an enormous amount of space with large lawns, magnificent trees and lakeside walks.  There really is a garden for everyone.

Fund raising

The village also prides itself on the quality of its home-made buffet lunches, served in the Village Hall from 12.30 to 2pm.  From soup to dessert, there are options for all. Teas, home-baked cakes and cream teas are available at several places around the village to refresh visitors throughout the afternoon, as well as a chance to sample the award-winning local wine and cider.
Visitors can purchase a memento of the day from two plant stalls (a great many of the plants have been grown in the village) and there is a Bottle Tombola for those who want to chance their luck.  Other entertainment is provided by live music in the church ranging from two Chamber Ensembles to an organ recital. 

These show the diversity of some gardens to be opened over the weekend.
Admission costs £5 per person which is valid for both days with no charge for accompanied children under 13.  Tickets are for sale in the Car Park, Village Hall and from any Open Garden.
Netherbury is a mile south of Beaminster between the A3066 and B3162 and signed from both. The Postcode for Sat Nav is: DT6 5LS. For further information please contact Anne Peck or see the website.
The Gardening Times will be reporting from the gardens of Netherbury prior to the event in order to bring you a behind the scenes story of the preparation of these wonderful gardens and the people who work so hard to make it all happen. 

Reported by Chris Allen  

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