From rolling hills and valleys, delicate snowdrops, swathes of daffodils and cascades of blossom and roses, to riverside retreats National Garden Scheme gardens across Wales have been providing a stunning glimpse of their glories during lockdown. The virtual visits – filmed by the charity and its garden owners while their gates have been forced shut by the Coronavirus pandemic – have kept the gardens of Wales virtually open for the best part of a year.
“The films that garden owners across Wales have shared since last spring have provided respite and joy for so many, as well as a chance to make up the shortfall in funding that the pandemic has created for the National Garden Scheme and the nursing and health charities it supports,” says Susan Paynton, County Organiser for North Powys and Regional Chair for Wales and the Marches. “With just an honesty box mechanism the virtual visits helped us raise over £200,000 contributing to our vital support of Macmillan, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and the Queens Nursing Institute.”
“Not since the National Garden Scheme was founded in 1927, not even during the Second World War, have our gardens been forced to close. The virtual visits, released regularly since April 2020 have been providing a wonderful source of respite for viewers unable to visit the gardens in person. Comments we’ve received show that even a virtual garden visit can lift the spirits and bring a moment of happiness in isolation*,” adds Susan.
HRH The Price of Wales, Royal Patron of the National Garden Scheme, added his own enthusiastic support for the virtual garden visits campaign and the huge health benefits that garden visits – even virtual – can bring in a video message released on June 3rd 2020 saying:
“I realize that people may not be able physically to visit any gardens at the moment, but I am delighted to say that the National Garden Scheme has cleverly adapted itself to offer ‘Virtual Garden Visits’ instead. Garden owners are making short films about their gardens and every week they are uploaded to the National Garden Scheme’s website for members of the public to watch and enjoy.
“This link between gardens and our health has never been more relevant – especially as we endure the challenges of the confined circumstances in which we currently find ourselves, in many cases beset with anxiety and, I am afraid to say, often with personal tragedy. During these times the beneficial effects of gardens and green spaces have never been more apparent. The reassuring solace, peace and inspiration of a garden, whether it is your own or someone else’s, can now be found to a certain extent through digital means, thanks to this terrific scheme.”
“As the restrictions slowly ease we’ll be following government guidelines and opening our gardens across Wales again when it is safe to do so. We’ll also be sharing more inspiring virtual visits from the stunning gardens of Wales. You can find all the latest information on garden openings and our films on the website at www.ngs.org.uk” adds Susan Paynton.