Beautiful gardens in West Sussex village to open up in aid of good causes

WELCOME Avril Hardie and Emma Weatherstone pictured in Emma's garden in Westbourne, West Sussex.  Picture: Allan Hutchings (121540-214)
WELCOME Avril Hardie and Emma Weatherstone pictured in Emma's garden in Westbourne, West Sussex. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121540-214)

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IT’S the quintessential English village with its thatched cottages and enchanting walled gardens.

Now villagers in Westbourne will be opening up their little oasis on the Hampshire and West Sussex border for people to enjoy.

Fifteen gardens will be open to the general public, with cream teas and ice-cream on offer.

The Westbourne Open Gardens day has been running since 1984 and is held every three years.

Last time it attracted more than 1,000 people.

Every penny raised by the event goes to charity, with this year’s proceeds going to St Wilfrid’s Hospice, in Chichester, Westbourne Primary School and Ems Valley Community Transport, which provides low-cost transport for the elderly and in need.

Avril Hardie, of White Chimney Row, who has been taking part in the event since it started in 1984, said: ‘I enjoy it immensely.

‘People are so appreciative and pleasant.

‘Last time we opened it we had a little gang of young men who came all the way down from London because we had put a small advert in a national newspaper.

‘People come from far and wide because it’s the quintessential English village with a huge range of gardens. There’s a great mix.’

Delights will include small, exquisitely designed patio gardens; those with water meandering through them; carefully manicured mature gardens; large spaces with impressive vistas and gardens designed and planted to show standard.

Emma Weatherstone, one of the organisers, who will be opening up her garden in White Chimney Row, said: ‘It’s quite a big event – to do it every year would be too much.

‘There’s lots of planting going on at the moment.

‘We were all a bit worried because there was not enough rain for the gardens. But now everything is starting to grow.

‘Hopefully in six weeks’ time it will all look gorgeous.’

The event takes place on Sunday, June 10.

Gardens will be open from 10.30am to 5pm with a large, clearly signposted car park being available on the day. The cost of entry is £7, to cover all gardens with tickets available on the day. There is free entry for children under the age of 14 but they must be accompanied by an adult.

Mrs Hardie added: ‘It’s all weather-dependent so we are hoping for good weather on the day.’