National Garden Scheme

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The National Garden Scheme offers a bursary in memory of Elspeth Thompson who died in 2010. Administered by the RHS, it is intended to support community gardening projects aimed at bringing the community together by the sharing and acquiring of horticultural knowledge and skills, and by inspiring a love of gardening across all age groups.

Elspeth ThompsonAbout Elspeth

Elspeth was an enthusiastic supporter of the National Garden Scheme, and wrote a much-loved Urban Gardener column in The Sunday Telegraph. Elspeth’s husband Frank said of her

‘She had a knack of seeing and creating beauty in unlikely places and was enthusiastic about those who gardened for the benefit of others’. 

How to apply

Applications for funding are considered in February each year, the closing date for applications is 31 December of the preceding year. No fixed amount is set but the maximum amount awarded would not normally exceed £5,000.

Completed forms must be submitted via email to by 31 December.


Awards granted in 2016/17

  • Aspire Academy - Harlow, Essex: To establish a 'nuture space' for pupils.
  • Caxton Youth Organisation - Westminster, London: To create a multifunctional space to meet the sensory needs of young people.
  • Fern Grove Community Garden - Liverpool: To install a polytunnel.
  • Ford Park Community Group - Ulverston, Cumbria: To create a community orchard and 'Berry Buffet'.
  • Foxhole Community Garden - Dartington, Devon: For the creation of a sensory plant area for families and visitors to enjoy.
  • Great Oaks Dean Forest Hospice - Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire: For new planting in the splays at the Hospice.
  • Gro Organic CIC - Solihull, Birmingham: For equipment and plants for activities for 'Urban Street Gardening Crew' project.
  • Northallerton Secret Garden - Northallerton, North Yorkshire: To restore neglected gardens.
  • St Peter's Community Garden - Cardiff: To complete a planting scheme.

Awards granted in 2015/16

  • Four Greens Community Trust - Plymouth: To convert an unused piece of green space into a community run allotment and garden.
  • Green Synergy -  Lincoln: To purchase a poly-tunnel for use in their community garden.
  • Growing Together at Independence Matters - Dereham, Norfolk: To extend their sensory garden.
  • Hillcrest SEN School - Cramlington, Northumberland: To create a garden for students to learn horticultural practices.
  • Mitcham Community Orchard & Gardens – Mitcham, Surrey: To transform 1000sq metres of derelict land into a community garden & orchard.

Further Information

Please contact the RHS Bursaries on 01483 479719 or email at

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We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.