IN ADDITION to its annual donations to nursing and health charities, the National Garden Scheme grants awards to help community gardening projects.

In 2011 the National Garden Scheme set up an award scheme in memory of Elspeth Thompson, the much-loved garden writer and journalist who died in 2010.

Elspeth was a great friend and supporter of the National Garden Scheme; she also wrote an admired ‘Urban Gardener’ column in the Sunday Telegraph. Her column often celebrated community gardens and so the awards support gardening projects carried out within local communities all over England and Wales. Previously managed in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, from 2019 the scheme will be wholly managed by the National Garden Scheme. To date we have given out awards to 59 projects with a total amount donated of £112,174. In 2019 projects funded included the enhancement of grounds around sheltered accommodation at the Court Community Garden in Llandrindrod Wells and support to renovate a dilapidated allotment site in Nottingham.  

Applications for funding are considered in February each year and the closing date for applications is December 31 of the preceding year. To find out how to apply go to

Most of our gardens have completed their openings for 2019 but there are still four gardens open in by arrangement in October and November, so you can enjoy autumn colours with friends; all you need do is contact the owner and arrange a time for an exclusive visit to one of these gardens.

We have had another wonderful year and although not all the funds are in yet we have raised over £45,000 by sharing our wonderful Powys gardens and serving tea and cake to visitors.

80p in every pound goes to charity and the National Garden Scheme is now the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK; beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute.

Gardens open by arrangement:

n February to October: Fraithwen, Tregynon, SY16 3EW. Sydney Thomas: 01686 650307.

n April to November: Hebron, Knighton, LD7 1HP Kevin Collins and Anita Lewis, 01547 529576,

n All Year: Llysdinam, Newbridge-on-Wye, LD1 6NB, Mary Elster: 01597 860190,

n April to November: Plas Dinam, Llandinam, SY17 5DQ, Eldrydd Lamp, 07415 503554,