Private gardens open for charity - the National Gardens Scheme festival weekend

Kevin Hilditch, craftsman gardener, at The Swiss Garden, Old Warden.
Kevin Hilditch, craftsman gardener, at The Swiss Garden, Old Warden.

Owners of private gardens across the country will be opening their gates this year to help raise millions for charities.

Beautiful outdoor spaces across Bedfordshire, from small town spaces to country gardens, will be welcoming visitors to admire their designs.

Kevin Hilditch, craftsman gardener, at The Swiss Garden, Old Warden.

Kevin Hilditch, craftsman gardener, at The Swiss Garden, Old Warden.

Although the scheme started earlier in the spring, the season gets into full swing on the weekend of June 6 and 7 for the national open gardens weekend festival.

Among a number joining the festival openings is Southill Park, home of Mr and Mrs Charles Whitbread, who open their gates on Sunday, June 7, from 2pm until 5pm.

The large gardens feature parkland designed by ‘Capability’ Brown in 1777, there is a large conservatory with tropical plants, mature trees, rose garden and much more to see.

Cream teas will be available. Admission is £4 for adults, with children admitted free.

The Swiss Garden, Old Warden - the thatched cottage.

The Swiss Garden, Old Warden - the thatched cottage.

Later in June, Speeds Dairy Farmhouse at Beadlow opens where visitors can admire a recently landscaped back garden with gravel path meandering through borders and leading to a vegetable garden.

The garden opens on Sunday, June 21, from 2pm until 5.30pm. Admission is £4 for adults, children free.

The enchanting Swiss Garden at Old Warden opens on Saturday, June 13 where you can admire the design created for Lord Ongley in the early 19th century, and reopened last year after a major restoration.

Serpentine paths lead to cleverly contrived vistas, focusing on the thatched Swiss Cottage.

The Swiss Garden, Old Warden.

The Swiss Garden, Old Warden.

Wrought iron bridges, ponds and sweeping lawns have all been given a new lease of life.

Admission is £8 for adults, children admitted free, and the garden is open from 9.30am until 5pm.

The Firs, at 33 Bedford Road, Sandy, opens on Sunday, June 28, and 8 Great North Road, Chawston on July 18 and 19.

You can find full details of all gardens at www.ngs.org.uk

In 2014 the NGS raised £2.5m and made donations to Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Carers Trust, Hospices UK, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Perennial, National Trust and Parkinson’s UK.