Kirsty and Alice Summerhayes with some of their colourful blooms.
GARDENINGWE DON’T really need reminding gardening is a powerful force for wellbeing and good but along came some reminders the other day.
More owners of gardens, both large and small, seem to be throwing open their gates to share the fruits of their endeavours with friends, neighbours and like-minded strangers.
And it is paying off for local charities.
In Bembridge, they need £100,000 to renovate The Cloisters, which is a well-used community meeting place but sadly not really fit for modern purpose.
So the community set about fundraising with some gusto.
And gardens have, and will, play a part.
Just recently, Mill Farm, which is close to the windmill, opened to the public for the first time under the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) and more than 400 visitors poured in.
They came to enjoy the flowers, the lovely buildings, the extensive views towards Brading and to inspect the newly planted trees in the orchard.
It was a grey day but many enjoyed lunch or a cream tea in the shelter of the house and The Cloisters appeal made £575 from the sale of refreshments.
The NGS also made a tidy sum for its charities from the admission charge.
Derek and Sue Rogers were among visitors vowing to return in September to see how the new orchard of rare varieties — planted by Kirsty Summerhayes — is doing.
Alice and Peter Summerhayes, the owners of Mill Farm, said the numbers were well above those they were expecting and are hoping for an equally good turnout on Sunday, Sept-ember 2, for a repeat performance.
Fundraising co-ordinator for The Cloisters appeal, Olive Light, has double delight.
The fund has now reached more than £62,000 of its target and promises to swell much more on Sunday when Tyne Hall’s garden opens up, courtesy of Peter and Davinia Grimaldi.
Tyne Hall was built in the 1830s, when most of the mature trees were probably planted.
There are some fine specimens of English oak, beech, lime, ilex oak, cedar and pine.
More recently planted trees include cryptomeria japonica, parottia persica (Persian iron tree), gingko biloba, araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle), abies koreana (Korean pine), quercus suber (cork oak), ilex perado and an enormous eucalyptus tree standing well over 70ft tall.
The view out to sea across the paddocks is stunning, taking in Spithead, The Solent forts, Spinnaker Tower and, on a clear day, a glimpse of Chichester Cathedral spire.
The garden itself features some well-kept lawns, including a croquet lawn, and a spectacular rose garden surrounding a lily pond. The roses should be in their first and best flush of the season in mid-June.
Although many of the roses have been replanted over the last 30 years, there remains a clump of china town and Elizabeth of Glamis, perhaps planted at the time of the Queen Mother’s 60th birthday (her diamond jubilee).
As an experiment this season, the back of the rose garden has been planted with a variety of foxgloves. Lav-ender little lady surrounds the front perimeter.
The extensive grounds include a formal garden and wilder areas as well as a kitchen garden and paddocks.
The kitchen garden will be of interest to those who like to grow soft fruit, cane fruit and vegetables. There is also a small orchard with different types of plums, apples, pears and cherry, mainly planted on dwarf rooting stock.
There are a number of camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias, some of which may still be in flower.
Look out for the pretty mauve flowers of jovellana violacea by the stone semi-circular seat, which came from Appley Hall, as did the beautiful terracotta wellhead, nearby.
The garden opens between 2pm and 5.30pm. Entrance is £3 for adults with children free.