OPEN Garden Squares Weekend is a date on London’s summer calendar, celebrating hidden and little-known gardens across London on Saturday and Sunday, June 14-15.
Visitors are invited to explore gardens ranging from historic traditional squares to experimental contemporary sites, community allotments, tranquil idylls and urban wildlife sanctuaries. T
his year, ten local gardens are taking part, including:
Acton Community Garden, Acton Park, The Vale W3 7JT
This small garden features a community vegetable-growing area, nature pond and example hedgerow, meadow and woodland. The garden is maintained by the Borough Rangers with assistance from community groups and volunteers.
Opening hours: Saturday 11:00–15:30. Activities: Informal tours. Weekend tickets must be bought in advance (see below).
Chiswick House Walled Garden, Chiswick W4 2QN
These spectacular 17th-century walled gardens were created by Sir Stephen Fox, Paymaster General of the Armed Forces and Samuel Pepys' employer in 1682. The gardens have recently been restored. The northern walled garden has been turned from an abandoned modern nursery into a cherry orchard. In the southern walled garden, lost paths have been reinstated and over 240 historic fruit trees and soft fruits have been planted by volunteers.
Opening hours: Sunday 11:00–15:00. Activities: Special tours of the restored walled gardens and conservatory at 12 and 2pm. Plant, flower and vegetable sales. All funds raised support the continued preservation of Chiswick House Gardens. Weekend tickets: must be bought in advance.
Walpole Park & Walled Garden, Mattock Lane or Ealing Green W5 5EQ
Walpole Park and the Walled Garden have just been restored to their former Regency glory. The vistas, ponds, flower garden and shrubbery walk have all been brought back to the time when Sir John Soane built Pitzhanger Manor House and designed this landscape. There are plenty of veteran trees and stunning oak avenues in the wider parkland. The Walled Garden has a focus on unusual heritage varieties of fruit, vegetables and flowers.
Opening hours: Saturday 11:00–17:00. Activities: Volunteers on hand to answer questions. Garden tours. Family activities, arts and crafts, music. Bee-keeping demonstration. Plant sale. Cakes, food and drink.. Weekend tickets: must be bought in advance.
Sycamore House, Sycamore Gardens, Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush W6 0AS
A completely hidden oasis right in the middle of Shepherd's Bush, Sycamore House is sheltered housing for the over-55s. The garden was designed and planted in March 2012 and features include plants to encourage bees and butterflies, a fishpond, pergola and arches for climbing plants, and raised beds for residents to do their own gardening. Bronze winner from the London Garden Society 2013.
Opening hours: Saturday 14:00–17:00. Activities: Tea, coffee, homemade cakes. Plant and craft stalls. Weekend tickets: can be bought on site on the day or in advance.
John Betts House, Goldhawk Road or Rylett Road, Shepherds Bush W12 9NJ
Sister project to Sycamore House, John Betts House is a private garden for older people. The garden features many interesting plants, hanging baskets, a greenhouse, raised vegetable beds, a water feature and balconies with residents' container gardens. The garden is a beautiful safe haven of which the residents are rightly proud.
Opening hours: Saturday 14:00–17:00. Activities: Home made cakes and plant sales. Weekend tickets: can be bought on site on the day or in advance.
One ticket gains access to all participating gardens (bar those with special conditions for entry) for both Saturday and Sunday.
An advance weekend ticket is £10 (including fees/p&p) available from www.opensquares.org . A ticket bought over the weekend itself is £12.
National Trust Members can go half price. For children under 12, admission is free all weekend.
For more information about Open Garden Squares Weekend, visit: www.opensquares.org