Essex in the spring

Furzelea in Danbury, EssexFurzelea in Danbury, Essex

Rose Meredith from Redbridge Libraries invites you to welcome the start of spring at Wanstead Library this month with an illustrated talk about gardens in Essex and a look at the National Gardens Scheme.

The National Gardens Scheme allows the public the great enjoyment of visiting all kinds of gardens, most of which are private gardens where you wouldn't usually have an opportunity to access them.

The charitable scheme has a rich and interesting history closely connected with nursing in the UK. In 1926 the organisation decided to raise a special fund in memory of their patron, Queen Alexandra, who had recently died. The fund would pay for training and would also support nurses who were retiring. A council member, Miss Elsie Wagg, came up with the idea of raising money for charity through the nation's obsession with gardening, by asking people to open their gardens to visitors and charging a modest entry fee that would be donated to the cause. So, in 1927 the National Gardens Scheme was founded. People were asked to open up their gardens for 'a shilling a head'. In the first year, 609 gardens raised over £8,000.

Linda Holdaway specialises in talks about the National Gardens Scheme and will be speaking about the various gardens in Essex that will be open this spring, summer and autumn for all to visit and enjoy. Redbridge Libraries are pleased to host this talk and we expect it to be very popular, so although this is a free event, booking is essential. Linda will also be bringing copies of the latest 2017 visitor brochures for audience members to take home. It is sure to be a most enjoyable Saturday afternoon talk – just in time for spring to get the horticultural year off to a good start and to inspire local residents to improve their health through gardening.

A recent report entitled Gardens and Health, commissioned by the National Gardens Scheme from The King's Fund, showed that gardens and gardening can have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing, whether you are working in your own back garden, on an allotment or simply walking through local or estate gardens. We can all enjoy the outdoors, learn about plants and wildlife and find out and compare how others tend to their patch.

If you like gardening or like looking at gardens, then this is the talk for you. Maybe you're thinking about starting a garden and want some inspiration, or perhaps you feel like getting out after a cold and dreary winter to welcome the start of spring.

The talk will take place at Wanstead Library on 18 March from 1.30pm to 3pm (free; booking required). Call 020 8708 7400

For more information on the National Gardens Scheme, visit

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