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Always an annual highlight, our popular Open Gardens season once again delighted crowds of visitors between late March to mid-September, bringing in vital funds to help us keep delivering our much-needed service for patients and their families.

This year’s season was extra special, being the tenth in its history! And from it’s opening at spectacular Gnaton Hall on Mothering Sunday – which raised over £5,000 – to its close at beautiful Bowringsleigh Gardens, it provided many enjoyable, inspiring days out across Devon and Cornwall for green-fingered gurus and those who simply wanted to take time to smell the roses.

In honour of a decade of Open Gardens, this year’s brochure cover design was kindly created especially for St Luke’s by our Patron, much-loved artist Brian Pollard. The original painting was then raffled in aid of our charity, raising over £3,500 and with the lucky winner being from Harrow Barrow, one of the villages that participates in Open Gardens.

With its winning combination of gorgeous gardens big and small, picturesque walks and plant sales, plus the raffle, this season has raised £44,028 for our charity, bringing the total raised through Open Gardens’ ten-year history to over £370,000 – a blooming fantastic total that is making a big difference to those we care for at home, in hospital and at our specialist unit.

Such is the popularity of our horticultural extravaganza that garden owners are already signing up for our 2020 season, with 18 gardens confirmed, including two newcomer village walkabouts, at Shaw Prior and Halton Quay Gardens. Look out for another bespoke design for our brochure cover, too – Kingsbridge artist Jennifer Cooper is kindly doing the honours!

Wayne Marshall, Community Fundraiser and Open Gardens Co-ordinator, said: “What’s so fantastic about Open Gardens is the way it brings communities together in a big team effort to proudly showcase their lovely gardens for such a special cause. From the garden owners who generously throw open their gates to welcome visitors to the big-hearted bakers who create the delicious cakes on offer, I never cease to be encouraged by the swell of support I see for St Luke’s.

“A huge thank you to everyone who ensured our tenth year was such a big success. We really appreciate everything you do.”

Flete Estate Open Gardens

Flete Estate Open Gardens

The sun was shining on Flete Estate at the beginning of the month for our Open Garden, as we raised a record amount for patient care.

1058 visitors were treated to exclusive access to the private and historic estate in Ivybridge on Sunday 2 July, spending the day exploring the Italianate gardens, shrubbery and water gardens under blue skies and brilliant sunshine.

The afternoon raised an incredible £9,030 for patient care, £2,350 more than in 2015, when we last held an Open Garden at Flete Estate.

A big part of the total came from the selection of delicious cakes that had been donated, making an amazing £2,864.10 towards the total for the day. Raffle, plant and merchandise sales all helped contribute to the final amount as well.

Special thanks to all the volunteers who worked hard to make the day run so smoothly, especially those who were helping out at the Neon Midnight Walk the previous night. We even had submariners from HMS Vanguard and staff from the Land Registry Office helping out as parking volunteer marshals.

The historic estate was used by the city of Plymouth as a maternity hospital during and after the Second World War; with many attendees on the day having actually been born there themselves.

If you couldn’t make it to the Flete Open Gardens this year, then we will be planning to open Flete Estate Gardens again in 2019.

St Luke’s Open Gardens will be continuing throughout August and September, with upcoming gardens including Diptford Village Walkabout on Sunday 6 August between 1.30pm and 5.30pm, Alpine House in Bere Ferrers on Sunday 13 August between 11am and 4pm, Blanksmill in West Alvington on Sunday 3 September between 2pm and 5pm and Lower Charaton Cottage in Pensilva, Cornwall, on Sunday 10 September between 2pm and 5pm. We also have a selection of private gardens opening by appointment up until early November. To see the full Open Garden listings click here.