Couple open their garden for the 25th year

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For green-fingered Sheila Clark it was a silver celebration as she opened her gardens to the public for the 25th year, all in aid of charity.

Hundreds of people visited her Walkeringham home on bank holiday Monday for the benefit of National Gardens Scheme worthy causes.

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The first time she opened – to celebrate beginning to transform a one and three quarter-acre potato field – 650 visitors turned up.

Over the years, through sunshine, downpours and everything in between, she has averaged between 300 and 400.

“Sheila is passionate about her garden,” said NGS assistant county organiser Judy Geldart.

“She knows a lot about plants. She always finds different ideas every year and, of course, she is a super flower arranger.

“And she has raised an amazing amount of money for NGS and the charities we support.”

The fresh view for this year’s event kept 78-year-old Sheila and her husband Peter busy for most of the winter.

“We revamped one of the ponds and it was a big job,” she said. “It had to have a new liner. So it had to be emptied.

“My husband pumped all of the water out into the duck pond. Then we moved all the plants out.

“After we’d put the new liner in, he pumped all the water back and I replaced all the plants.”

She added: “It’s always good to see our regular visitors.

“But there’s something special about seeing children exploring and enjoying the surprises. We’ve got the get the next generation interested.”

The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) has donated more than £45 million to charities since being founded in 1927.  

The NGS this year donated a record £2.7 million to its beneficiary charities.

Charities supported by the NGS include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Carers Trust, Hospice UK, Perennial and Parkinson’s UK.

Visit www.ngs.org.uk for more information.