Canterbury Cathedral opens the doors to its secret gardens

Classic cars on the Green Court

Classic cars on the Green Court - Credit: Archant

This event is ‘very special indeed’

The historic and beautiful private gardens of Canterbury Cathedral will be open to all for one weekend next month.

This popular annual event, which has been held for more than 10 years and is run in connection with the National Garden Scheme, unlocks several private and secret gardens within the cathedral grounds and in the process raises money for charity.

The two-day event is must for anyone who loves and appreciates the skill and art of gardening; the cathedral gardeners will be on hand all weekend to answer queries and have plants for sale.

“The weekend of the Open Gardens in the precincts of Canterbury Cathedral has become a popular annual event,” said the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury.

“The precincts themselves are beautiful, but the opportunity to visit the historic gardens of many of the houses of the precincts makes the event very special indeed. We who live here enjoy the interest and enthusiasm shown by other gardeners who come to visit us, and we are hoping for a fine weekend”.

Visitors will have the opportunity to wander around the precincts and to wonder and enjoy the fragrance and beauty of the gardens; relish a slice of homemade cake; and take away a plant providing a potted memory of Canterbury for their own gardens.

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There will be a chance to eyeball birds of prey; see a bee observation hive and buy honey products; buy plants and refreshments; and enjoy the spectacle of classic cars on the Green Court.

Last year’s Open Gardens raised more than £10,000, the proceeds being given to nominated charities, Seeds for Africa and The Children’s Society – The Secret-Jungle.

The 2014-nominated charities are The Pilgrims Hospices and Send a Cow

Speaking at their delight at being one of this year’s nominated charities, Susan Elliot from Send a Cow said: “We too are absolutely delighted Send a Cow is be supported at this year’s cathedral annual Open Garden weekend.

“Our approach to ending poverty is unique: a powerful mix of practical farming, emotional support and a culture of sharing that is changing the future for millions of African families.”

The cathedral gardens are open on the weekend of May 24-25.

Garden opening times are 11am-5pm on Saturday and 2pm-5pm on Sunday (cathedral opening times are 9am-5pm on Saturday and midday to 2pm on Sunday).

Normal precinct charges apply on Saturday and up to 2pm on Sunday; a donation of £5 per person (children free) is asked for if you visit the gardens.