People love a good nosey around someone else’s garden to see how they form their perennials and now is the perfect chance to snoop.
For the 91st year running, more than 3,700 gardens will be accessible to view under the annual National Garden Scheme (NGS).
The initiative allows members of the public to look around private gardens on designated dates, where a variety of refreshments will be served.
Each garden has an entry fee, which will go to the owner’s chosen charity.
Last year, more than 3,500 gardens were included in the diary, raising more than £3.5m.
The scheme has certainly grown since its conception in 1927, as George Plumpre, chief executive of NGS, explains.
He says: “An organisation called Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) was looking for a way to raise funds and decided a good way was for people to open their gardens to visitors and donate the money to charity. That year 600 gardens were opened and £8,000 was raised.
“It has been going every year since. The money is distributed annually to a variety of charities. We still exist to support nursing, with the lion’s share going to nursing charities including the QNI, Macmillan, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and Parkinson UK.
“We give a modest proportion (10 per cent) of money to a group of charities that help train people into gardening.”
The scheme is open from February, for the snowdrop seasons, to the end of October.
This year, more than 3,700 gardens are open, which are included in the NGS’s annual guide - the Garden Visitor’s Handbook - also known as the Yellow Book.
George adds: “Visitors love the idea of going to someone’s private garden. It is very friendly and informal, where they get to meet the owner and enjoy home-made refreshments.
“The gardeners put in a lot of preparation and really enjoy it. It gives them a target to keep their garden in top-top condition. They like the idea of sharing their garden with others. They have put a lot of work into it so they want people to see it.
“People also like the idea of raising money for charity. All the money is distributed within the year.”
NOGS also has a number of initiatives to boost the link between gardening and health and wellbeing and was commissioned in a report by the King’s Fund 2016.
George adds: “Championing the link between gardening and health and wellbeing is an important element of our work.”
The Lancashire gardens open to the public as part of the National (Open) Garden Scheme:
May 20, June 30 and July 1 - Warton Gardens: Warton Gardens, Warton; 2 Church Hill Lane, near Carnforth; 109/111 Main Street, near Carnforth; Tudor House, 137 Main Street, near Carnforth. 11am until 4.30pm.
May 20, June 17, July 15 - 29 Crabtree Lane, Burscough. 11am until 4pm.
May 27, 28, July 8, August 26 - Bretherton Gardens: Bretherton Gardens, South Road, Bretherton, Leyland, Hazel Cottage, 6 South View, Bretherton, Glynwood House, Eyes Lane; Owl Barn, Flag Lane; Pear Tree Cottage, Eyes Lane. Noon until 5pm.
May 27, 28, June 24, July 1 - Clearbeck House, Mewith Lane, Higher Tatham via Lancaster. 11am until 5pm.
May 27, July 22: Southport: 23 Ashton Road; Links View, 18 Clovelly Drive; 339 Liverpool Road; 33 Clovelly Drive; Hillside Gardens, Liverpool Road. 11am until 5pm.
May 27 - 12 The Croft, Euxton, from noon until 5pm.
May 27, July 15 - Waddow Lodge Garden, Clitheroe Road, Waddington. 1pm until 5pm.
June 2, 3 - Dent Hall, Colne Road, Colne. Noon until 4pm.
June 2, 3, 9, 10 - Mill Barn, Goosefoot Close, Samlesbury. Noon until 5pm.
June 3, July 8 - Birkdale Gardens: 22 Hartley Crescent, Birkdale; 14 Saxon Road; 10 Meadow Avenue. 11am until 5pm.
June 3 - Meresands Kennels and Cattery, Holmeswood Road, Rufford, Ormskirk. 10.30am until 4.30pm.
June 9, 10 - Giles Farm, Four Acre Lane, Thornley. 1pm until 5pm.
June 10, July 1 - 8 Andertons Mill, Mawdesley, Ormskirk; Woodstock Barn, Andertons Mill. Noon until 5pm.
June 10 - Ormskirk: 90 Brick Kiln Lane, Rufford, Ormskirk; 31 Cousins Lane. 11am until 4.30pm.
June 10 - Hazelwood Farm, Hollins Lane, Silverdale, Carnforth. 11am until 5pm.
June 17 - Hazelwood, North Road, Bretherton. 1pm until 5pm.
June 17, July 15, August 12 - Plant World, Myerscough College, St Michaels Road, Bilsborrow. 11am until 4pm.
June 23, 24 - Dale House Gardens, off Church Lane, Goosnargh. 10am until 4pm.
June 24 - Grange Over Sands Hidden Gardens: 21 Cart Lane, Grange-Over-Sands; Elder Cottage, Cart Lane; Sunbeams, Kilmidyke Road; Sunrise Cottage, Kilmidyke Road; Whistling Gem,Cart Lane
June 24, 27 - Dutton Hall, Gallows Lane, Ribchester. June 24 - 1pm until 5pm; June 27- 6pm until 8.30pm.
June 24 - Green Farm Cottage, 42 Lower Green, Poulton-le-Fylde. 10am until 5pm.
June 30, July 1 - Becconsall, Hunters Lane, Tarleton Moss, Tarleton. 11am until 5pm.
June 30, July 29 - 19 Cumberland Avenue, Leyland. 1pm until 5pm.
July 1 - 81 Windsor Road, Southport. Noon until 5.30pm.
July 1 - 28 Lockwood Avenue, Poulton-Le-Fylde. 1pm until 4.30pm.
July 1 - 91 Station Road, Banks, Southport. 11am until 5pm.
July 8, 14 - The Stones and Roses Garden, in White Coppice Farm. 11am until 5pm.
July 15 - Pool Foot Barn, Poolfoot Lane, Little Singleton, Poulton-Le-Fylde. 10.30pm until 5.30pm.
July 15 - Wigan & Leigh Hospice, Kildare Street, Hindley. 10am until 4pm. Entry gains access to: 6 Birch Road, Leigh on June 1, July 15, August 1, September 9. 11am until 3pm apart from July 15 - 10am until 4pm.
August 4, 5 - Lower Dutton Farm, Gallows Lane, Ribchester. 1pm until 5pm.
August 27 - The Ridges in Chorley . 11am until 5pm.
September 9 - Weeping Ash Garden, Bents Garden and Home, Warrington Road, Glazebury. 10am until 4pm.
All gardens have a small entry fee, from £3 to £8 and include refreshments.
In some cases, some gardens have musical entertainment.
For more information visit http://www.ngs.org.uk/find-a-garden/