Villagers rally round to keep garden tradition alive

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Eccentric British weather and the loss of the long-term organisers could spell disaster for many outdoor events but villagers in Wolston and Brandon have rallied round to make sure their show will go on on Sunday September 8.

Their garden walkabout has been a big event on the calendar for the past 25 years, with visitors flocking to see sights that are normally hidden – and raise loads of money for charity in the process.

It takes place every other year but after the last event Brian and Lorraine Ell decided it was time for them to pass over the responsibility for organising the event. And earlier this year that’s exactly what they were able to do after a number of volunteers stepped forward to make sure this year’s event would take place.

The new team not only had to learn the ropes but tackle the elements as well, as gardens everywhere faced the extremes of a long spell of bad weather followed by the unexpected heatwave. But they’ve won through in every respect and now more than 20 gardens are shaping up beautifully for opening in September, rather than the previous slot in June.

One of those involved is Andy Murdy, whose family garden is among those opening. He said: “Brian and Lorraine are a lovely couple. They explained what happened and what needed to be done so we decided to give it a spin.

“We thought if we got ten gardens involved we’d have enough to open but we’ve got more than 20 including some new ones, ranging from cottage gardens to the Manor House and some modern houses.

“The school is opening its garden there will be a flower festival in the church, a ladybird trail around the gardens, art in the Baptist church, a variety of music and refreshments at various points, including those all-important cream teas.

“It’s about raising money for the villages but also about bringing them together. The gardens have caught up after the bad weather and even if you have seen them before you can see them this time at a different point in the year.”

The walkabout takes place from noon to 6pm. Admission costs £4 for adults and is free of charge for accompanied children. The tickets and maps will be on sale in both villages.