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.

If you wish to apply, please download the application form, complete and email with supporting documentation to by the closing date of 31 December.

Awards granted in 2018/2019

  • Echo – Leominster – Horticulture for those with physical, sensory or mental health needs  
  • Ashley Vale Action Group – Bristol – To create a community garden 
  • Kyra Women’s Project – York – to create a sensory garden for Women experiencing loneliness or in crisis 
  • Ripon Community Link – North Yorkshire – to develop the site, install water supply and irrigation & a greenhouse 
  • St Ann’s Allotments – Nottingham – to renovate dilapidated allotments  
  • The Court Community Garden Project – Powys – to enhance grounds around sheltered accommodation 
  • The Therapy Garden - Guildford –  support gardening for adults and children with mental health challenges 
  • YMCA East Surrey – Redhill – support gardening for disabled people aged 16 – 30  

Awards granted in 2017/18

Confederation of Indian Organisations - Leicester: Provision of poly tunnel and seating at Community Allotment

Denbigh in Bloom - Denbigh N.Wales: Create a wildlife friendly garden close to approach to Denbigh Castle

Frome Allotment Association - Frome, Somerset: Install a piped mains water supply at the allotment

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Norwich, Norfolk: Create a communal grow area within the city garden

GROW Community Garden - Loughton, Essex: Develop sensory garden area

Lindengate - Wendover, Bucks: Enable gardeners to design and create garden features to their own specifications

Mary Stevens' Park Growing Together - Stourbridge, W.Midlands: Expand into a new growing space

1st Ockford Ridge Rainbows - Godalming, Surrey: Regenerate area of land to enhance gardening programme of the Rainbow Unit

Serenity Social & Therapeutic Horticulture - Killberby, Darlington: To create suitable area to run therapeutic horticultural project

Shocklach Oviatt Primary School - Shocklah, Malpas, Cheshire: Enhancement of school vegetable garden

Talgarth & District Regeneration Group - Talgarth, Powys: Extend current vegetable box planting and transform wasteland area

Thames Ditton Station Group - Thames Ditton, Surrey: Provision of bee friendly planters

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.