The National Garden Scheme Garden

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The garden has an ‘edge of woodland’ theme and appearance, laid out through an open hazel coppice with a collection of more drought tolerant woodland plants suited to the south east of the UK. A portion of the plants have been contributed by National Garden Scheme garden owners, symbolic of the tradition of sharing and generosity in the charity.
The garden centres on a carbon sink timber hut where visitors and garden volunteers can congregate for tea and cake, synonymous with a National Garden Scheme garden open day. The garden celebrates the National Garden Scheme’s nearly 100 years of opening private gardens to the public and raising funds for nursing and health charities.

At a glance:

Who is this garden for? 
A therapeutic garden for hospital patients.
Where is the garden set?  
South east of the UK.
Who or what is the design inspiration?
The sharing ethos of the National Garden Scheme, woodland and therapeutic gardens.

A hut made from UK-grown cleft oak features on the garden and a portion of its timber comes from Hertfordshire where Tom Stuart-Smith and his family open their gardens for the National Garden Scheme.

The style of the garden reflects the charity’s increasing support of community and therapeutic gardens as well as its diverse portfolio of gardens that open. Enclosed by a native hedge the garden offers a refuge to visitors.

Key sustainability points:

  • The hut is made from UK-grown and reclaimed timber, and has been designed as a carbon sink
  • The paving is made of bricks from local Hertfordshire clay, the other paving is reclaimed York stone
  • The garden is cement free
  • The plant palette has been selected to cope with clay soil prone to drying out which reflects current climatic conditions
  • Rainwater is collected from the timber hut and all hard surfaces drain into the plant beds


The garden is going to form part of a new garden for one of the National Garden Scheme’s major beneficiary charities. It will be the garden of a new Maggie’s Centre at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.