QNI Head of Communications, Matthew Bradby, is opening his North London garden for The National Garden Scheme on Saturday 7th July, two days after the 70th anniversary of the NHS. All funds raised on the day will support National Garden Scheme beneficiary charities, which include The QNI.

Last year I opened my garden in North London for the National Garden Scheme, the QNI’s oldest and most significant funder.  Thanks to friends, family and volunteers from the QNI, over 100 people visited and we raised £800 for nursing and caring charities.

Not only was it a good fundraiser, it was also a really enjoyable experience, so I decided to open the garden again this year, on Saturday 7th July.

There are lots of things to see, so it will be of interest to people of all ages and levels of interest. There’s a big variety of exotic plants including Japanese banana, Mediterranean plants like fig, olive, grapevine and palms, as well as a fruit and vegetable garden and two ponds.

I’ve been working hard on the garden the last few months. I’ve moved quite a few things around since last year and also redesigned some areas, inspired in part by visiting other National Garden Scheme gardens last year. Gardening really is a process of life-long learning, one of the reasons it’s so interesting and engaging.

The biggest challenge last year was the huge number of voracious slugs, but so far this year the worst pests have been box tree moth caterpillars. They’re not a problem if you don’t have a box hedge in your garden, but if like me you have a long nurtured and cherished box hedge then you’re in trouble. I have given up keeping track of the number of hours I’ve spent squashing the things, and every guest in the past year has had to listen to my complaints about them. If you find there is no box hedge remaining to be seen on 7th July, it means that the caterpillars have eaten it completely.

Other new arrivals in the garden are less problematic. Ring necked parakeets are now regular visitors – on one occasion I saw ten visiting the bird feeder. I hope they may make an appearance but they are quite shy, so no promises.

I’m really looking forward to welcoming people on 7th July and it would be great to see as many nurses there as possible. The event takes places just two days after the 70th anniversary of the start of the National Health Service, so I hope you will be able to join me and help celebrate that historic occasion.

We’ll be selling teas and home made cakes and also serving home made wine for a donation. There will also be home made preserves from fruit in the garden and we’ll be selling a variety of plants in the greenhouse too.

I’d also like to say thank you to my colleagues, friends and family who have volunteered to help on the day – I couldn’t do it without them.

And lastly – please pray for good weather!

Practical Details

Address: 21 Gospatrick Road, N17 7EH. Time: 2 till 6 pm.

Admission: Admission is £3.50 on the door; children go free and well behaved dogs are welcome.

Access: There is one step down into the garden but otherwise access is easy and there is seating available. There is unrestricted parking on the street outside.

More information, including directions and contact information is on the NGS website.

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