For anyone who missed St Michael’s Hospice Open Garden Season, it is well worth putting in your diaries for next year. Not only is it a wonderful opportunity to see a wide range of beautiful gardens, but it also helps raise money for the hospice.

This season raised over £36,000, with more than 60 gardens opening their garden gates and attracting over 4,000 visitors. I was slow of the mark this year and only managed to visit the garden of St Benedict in Pevensey Road, a private house that also offers bed & breakfast and private dining. The gardens are an idealised recreation of a Victorian garden with the addition, this year, of a wonderful kitchen garden.

Kitchen garden at St Benedict

There are so many gardens to visit, from the small to the magnificent three-acre Fairlight End. One visitor summed up their visit there as “One magical morning.” Explaining why, they said: “For a few hours I got lost in the beautiful gardens and watched dragonflies dance, frogs swim and birds sing their hearts out. What an absolute dream of a garden.”

If you’d like to get more involved while enjoying the gardens, you can also volunteer. Here’s how one volunteer felt about their experience this year. “I enjoy volunteering at the Open Gardens because of the amazing team we have. The visitors are great too, some returning each year and greeting us like old friends. Helping in such beautiful surroundings really lifts the spirits.”

Laura Sully, Senior Community and Events Fundraiser at St Michael’s, commented on the 2021 experience: “The number of visitors (often in the rain) was just fantastic. It was wonderful to see so many people out and about enjoying themselves.”

This year’s Open Garden season was sponsored by Crest House Care Home. Plans for next year are already afoot, and if you are interested in opening your garden to the public in aid of the Hospice, email: [email protected]

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