This is the time of year for the best of the local village gardens to open to the public. It’s a scheme that supports the best ‘caring’ charities. Basically anyone can apply to show off their plot – it can be any size garden but must be special. Whether attached to a gorgeous rambling manor house or just a small plot behind a modern house – so long as it offers quality, character and something of interest. Very often the owners will have been recognised for specialism in a particular plant or perhaps a exotic rock garden and over the years they’ve been encouraged to expand this interest and allow friends and villagers round for a single one off charity raiser. I visited a prestige village last weekend – six gardens, each contained lush colourful borders and a cheery welcome. Most had fantastic specimen shrubs or trees to marvel at. Some had table top sales of baby versions of the beauties we’d just been marvelling over. The last garden on our route turned out to be the most spectacular and even better, the teas and refreshments were there – beautifully contained under a small shelter arrangement. Perfection!