BLOG: Open Gardens 2023

Stunning gardens open their gates to raise funds for hospice care

A sensational selection of beautiful gardens in West Devon, the South Hams and East Cornwall are once again throwing open their gates to raise funds for our compassionate end of life care for local people.

Our Open Gardens scheme is an annual favourite for horticulture fans who revel in the chance to explore amazing private plots, large and small, many not usually open to the public, while supporting our care at the same time. Cash raised from ticket sales plays a vital part in helping us to meet the rising cost of our dedicated care teams offering free specialist hospice care, when and where it is needed.

Launching the 2023 season on Mother’s Day – Sunday 19 March – is the grand Gnaton Hall, near Yealmpton, which boasts a spectacular five acres, packed with daffodils and grand Magnolia trees, plus walled gardens, terraced lawns and woodland walks. With plenty of time to explore this amazing plot between 2pm and 5pm, visitors can try to spot the elusive Elmer the Patchwork Elephant in the grounds, enjoy cakes and refreshments and purchase a wide selection of homegrown plants.

This year’s programme, running through to September and kindly sponsored by NFU Mutual Plymouth, promises plenty of inspiration for keen gardeners, as well as a proper treat for anyone who enjoys a fresh air outing in a beautiful environment.

The list features many perennially popular gardens, plus several exciting new additions to the roster, stretching from the outskirts of Plymouth right across our catchment area in the South Hams, Dartmoor, West Devon and just over the border into Cornwall – from Kingsbridge to Lewdown.

The magnificent landscaped grounds of the Grade One listed Flete House, near Ermington, opening on Sunday 30 July, are always a glowing highlight of the season. Fresh for 2023, there’s also a new Hidden Village trail around a series of private gardens in Mary Tavy, a moorland village north of Tavistock, opening between 11am and 4pm on Sunday 4 June, where taking time to chat with the garden owners will be part of the fun.

There’s no need to book in advance for any of the gardens – just turn up on the allotted date and time and follow the orange St Luke’s signs to car parking and the gardens themselves and pay on the gate with cash or contactless card; under-16s have free entry.

An added bonus this year is the chance to buy a series of four striking, limited-edition nature-inspired linocut prints, specially created for our Open Gardens by acclaimed Calstock artist Peter Ursem – one of which features on this year’s brochure cover.  The gorgeous colour-soaked prints are available from his website at www.peterursem.co.uk and Peter will generously be donating 50 per cent of sales proceeds to St Luke’s. The artist will also be holding an open studio day to coincide with the Gunnislake Village Open Gardens on Sunday 25 June.

Wayne Marshall, St Luke’s Open Gardens Co-ordinator, said: “It’s exciting to be back with another diverse selection of beautiful gardens to inspire and delight visitors. Many of our featured gardens are hidden gems not normally open to the public, so visiting is a rare chance for you to get an insight into garden planning and planting schemes.

“As a charity, we couldn’t survive without the kindness of all our supporters. This includes everyone who attends our Open Gardens, the big-hearted garden owners who welcome them, and not forgetting our proud sponsors NFU Mutual Plymouth.”

You can pick up a copy of our Open Gardens 2023 brochure at any of our charity shops, at local garden centres and supporting businesses, or you can download it online here.