The Six Houses in Barton near Cambridge are celebrating their 30th year of opening for the National Gardens Scheme. The properties are owned by horticulture trade charity Perennial and provide accommodation for retired horticulturists. The gardens will be open to the public during the NGS Festival Weekend on Sunday 5 June.
The gardens of the Six Houses have opened for the NGS every year since 1986, making them one of the longest running NGS garden in the region. To mark this milestone, residents of the Barton Cottages were recently presented with a commemorative sundial for the garden from the NGS.
Not only do residents of the Six Houses do their bit in caring for a garden that opens through the NGS, but they are in turn direct beneficiaries of the scheme as Perennial is one of the charities that the NGS supports. Indeed the NGS is Perennial’s largest single donor, recently donating £130,000 from garden visits in 2015.
Perennial helps all horticulturists and their families, not just those who are retired, providing them with what is often described as a lifeline when times get tough. One Barton resident, Richard Parker had his own gardening business, but when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in his fifties, he could no longer work and had to sell his home. Once his mortgage was paid off, he could not afford another home and it was then he contacted Perennial. He was allocated a cottage at Barton and has now lived there for 15 years.
“My cancer is in remission and I believe that it is thanks to Perennial’s support that I have been able to stay in remission and live longer into my retirement.”
The Six Houses at Barton were built in 1939 by banker Elliot Howes for his sisters and donated to Perennial in 1970. The communal garden is four acres in size and includes a dry garden, a winter garden and a small wood. Each cottage has its own private garden with vegetable patch, which the residents as retired horticulturists all enjoy. Thanks to a legacy left by a former resident, there are funds to spend on further improvements to the garden in the future.
The gardens of the Six Houses in Barton will be open on Sunday 5 June as part of the Barton Gardens group. For full details on NGS garden openings, visit: www.ngs.org.uk
For further information about Perennial, visit: www.perennial.org.uk
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Perennial offers free, confidential advice and support to everyone working in or retired from horticulture and their families, including gardeners, landscapers, nursery and garden centre staff, parks and grounds care staff and tree surgeons. People turn to Perennial for financial and emotional help in times of need because of disability, sickness, poverty, financial hardship and old age – although increasingly younger people are seeking their assistance. Many individuals describe the services Perennial offers as a ‘lifeline’. The work of Perennial depends entirely on voluntary donations from the horticultural industry and the garden-loving public.
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