It was the day of the year that the gardeners closed their gates and gathered for the annual National Garden Scheme (NGS) tea party.
This year the event for West Sussex garden owners took place on Saturday, April 21 at Fittleworth Village Hall.
NGS spokesman Philip Duly said: “This popular event was supported by many of those who generously open their garden for charity under the scheme.
“It is an annual opportunity for owners to meet the West Sussex team of volunteers and to talk with other garden owners to ensure the scheme continues to generate the maximum possible income for its charitable beneficiaries.”
The afternoon kicked off with a guided tour of the three acre garden at Fittleworth House, which was getting ready for a new season of opening to the public.
The gardens are open every Wednesday afternoon between 2pm and 5pm from April 25 to June 27.
Head gardener Mark Saunders greeted the visitors and conducted a series of informative tours around the garden highlighting the challenges faced during the recent harsh winter and introducing his team.
Back at the village hall, more than 100 garden owners heard Mark Porter, the chairman of the South East region of NGS, present the 2017 annual report and announce the awards for garden owners who have opened their gardens continuously under the scheme for ten and 20 years.
Polly Barr, the senior corporate partnerships executive of Hospice UK, a major benefactor of funds raised by NGS, gave a rousing speech signifying the practical difference NGS funding contributed through its generous annual donations.
Patty Christie, the West Sussex county organiser, ended the afternoon with a synopsis of the ongoing success of the scheme and its key aims for 2018.
For those keen to explore the West Sussex county organiser’s garden, Patty, a self-confessed plantaholic, will be joining two of her neighbours in opening her garden at Guillards Oak in Midhurst for the first time on Sunday, June 3, and Tuesday, June 5, between 2pm and 6pm.
Combined entry to all the gardens will be £5.