Virtual Open Gardens 2020

Saturday 11th July 2020 - Monday 31st August 2020
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Your own home!
Virtual Open Gardens Website Header

Sit back, relax and unwind with our Virtual Open Gardens experience!

Our perennially popular Open Gardens event is back for its 26th annual celebration of all things fauna and flora – but this year, we are online. We are delighted to invite you to take part and enjoy the usual festivities from the comfort of your very own home.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and government restrictions, we are sadly unable to host Open Gardens as we normally would, and as we have done for the past 25 years. However, we are excited to bring you our first-ever Virtual Open Gardens so that you can explore a variety of beautiful, hidden, green spaces in your local area, virtually!

On Saturday 11th July 2020, we invite you to enjoy a series of walk-through videos from our local Open Gardens participants, who have created home-made video tours of their treasured gardens for you to enjoy. You will have throughout the month of July and August to watch these peaceful video tours at your own leisure.

This year, more than ever, we can all appreciate the benefits that spending time enjoying the natural world can bring to our mental well-being. That’s why we wanted to bring the beauty of local greenery straight to your screens – signed, sealed and delivered! So, sit back, relax and unwind, as you explore a world of calming, local gardens during Virtual Open Gardens 2020.

Your Virtual Open Gardens tour begins here…

We are excited to share with you a series of relaxing, local garden walk-through videos as part of Virtual Open Gardens 2020, filmed and curated with love by local garden enthusiasts from your community.

But before you begin…

Open Gardens 2020 was targeted to raise £10,000 in vital funding to go towards our care and support services for local people facing life-limiting illnesses, the end of life and bereavement. The perennially popular event is a staple in our fundraising income calendar; yet, alongside many other necessary event cancellations and postponements due to coronavirus, we are now facing a £200,000 loss in our hospice income this summer.

We therefore ask, if you do take part in our Virtual Open Gardens event and enjoy our calming, locally-made videos from supporters in our community, that you make whatever donation you can afford to St Clare Hospice to help us continue caring, round-the-clock, throughout these difficult times – and for years to come.

Watch the videos below to take the tour!

Or you can click here to visit our YouTube playlist so you can play all our videos together consecutively. The videos go live at 8am on Saturday 11th July! 

Ann’s Garden

Ann says: “We have lived in this house since 1977 and have opened our garden for St. Clare Hospice for the last twenty-two years. The house is situated at the end of a cul de sac with a small wood opposite. A public path runs along the whole side of our garden, with a fence and trees. This gives us privacy but also quite a lot of shade.

The garden is an average size for Harlow and already had a greenhouse when we moved in. I spend quite a lot of time in here and grow many plants to sell during the Open Gardens weekend. We have a small pond, shrubs and a lot of pots. A large patio and a grass area. We have a side entrance so that when we are ‘open’, visitors can walk straight into the garden.”

Carmen’s Garden

Colin’s Garden

Carrie’s Garden

Denise’s Garden

Elaine’s Garden

Jackee’s Garden

Diane’s Garden

Lesley’s Garden

Maria’s Garden

Michael’s Garden

Moira’s Garden

Paula’s Garden

Sheila’s Garden

Sheila says, “I first started gardening around seven years ago when my husband was diagnosed with vascular dementia. He enjoyed being outdoors, so we had started gardening together. He would cut the grass and was very happy just pottering around and helping me. The garden became a release for us both and become one of his favourite places to be.

He was later admitted to a care home, so the garden became neglected as I spent every day at the home with him.

“He sadly passed away in 2017 and I decided then to try and bring our garden back to its former glory. It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication but I know how much he would have loved to see it now. Being in our garden makes me feel like he is still with me and brings back very fond memories of our time spent together”

Susan and John’s Garden

Susan’s Garden

Susan says, “My garden is situated in the Fir Park area of Harlow. The back garden plot size is typical of this development at 34ft x 45ft. It is south west facing so gets the sun from midday onwards. I have been tending it for some twenty years now.

“It is a flower garden in the main both wild (foxgloves, poppies and blackberries) and cultivated (rose, hydrangea, agapanthus, lychnis, hellebore, abutilon, day lilies among others).  Many of the plants are grown in varying sized pots.  The archway is a testament to the time scale of our time here. It has an early flowering clematis, rose, honeysuckle and ivy growing over it. They were planted some eighteen years ago. The honeysuckle has really come into its own this year.

“The garden is broken up into areas where you can sit and either be in shade or full sunlight and look at different aspects of it. The Yucca by the house was once in a mixed planter bought as a present in 2011. It now graces the boxed, raised bed as a tree and flowers most years. There are two fruit trees; an apple and a cherry and a bay and olive tree. We gave up on the postage stamp of a lawn two years ago! It is now a small area of artificial grass.

“As in most years, I am growing tomatoes (a plum variety), runner beans (from seed) and potatoes, plus some sweetpea. In addition to this, this year I have grown pumpkin, butternut squash and curtesy of a neighbour, a cantaloupe melon from seed. The sunflowers are just coming into bloom now. Being in ‘lock down’ has meant that I have had the opportunity to spend much more time working in the garden.”

Terry’s Garden

Terry says: “30 years ago, this urban garden in the centre of Harlow was a very different place. The air was filled with the voices of children playing and the space was filled with goal posts, climbing frames and toys.

“Over the years, as the six of us have all grown up and flown the nest, the garden has evolved and grown in to a much more peaceful and pretty space to be in. Both Mum and Dad put a lot of effort into developing the garden into what it is today and loved spending time in it, alone and when the family visited on frequent occasions.

“I have so many good memories of summers both from when I was younger, and more recently of fun, laughter, barbecues and games.

The garden also has a couple of strong links to St Clare Hospice. My mum was an inpatient at St Clare in December 2016, and after she passed away, Dad decided that he would like a memorial garden in the garden at home – so that we always had her close to us whenever we were there. I helped build this, and it is now well established with a beautiful magnolia as the centrepiece.

“Also, when Dad changed the leaf on the Memory Tree at the Hospice, we decided to bring home the leaf and fix it to the cherry tree that was planted in 1977 when Mum and Dad were married and that still has pride of place in the middle of the garden. 

“Ordinarily, the Open Gardens isn’t something that we would get involved in this much, but due to the innovative thinking of the fundraising team and the virtual nature of this years event it has made it much easier to participate and help out in fundraising in a new way for St Clare.”

Rex’s Garden

‘Epping Open Gardens’ opening for St Clare Hospice

The members of Epping Open Gardens say, “Epping Open Gardens are a group of enthusiastic gardeners in Epping who come together and open their gardens every two years to raise money for local charities. We have been raising money for St Clare Hospice since 2014 and although the main event in 2020 was cancelled we hope to open again on Monday 31st May 2021.”

Wychwood Garden

The owners of Wychwood Garden say, “We have opened our gardens for the NGS for the last few years. We moved into the house in 2000 and have taken the garden from laid to lawn to where it is today. It is predominately a rose garden with over 250 varieties growing within the beds and around the features.”

Sarah’s Garden


Did you enjoy your Virtual Open Gardens 2020 experience? Any donation you can make will go towards St Clare Hospice’s vital care and support for local people who need us. Please take a moment to donate when you watch our Virtual Open Gardens videos –  it will mean the world to us; those who we support; and the dozens of local people who submitted a garden walk-through video for all to enjoy. Thank you. 

£10 – Care at home…

£10 could pay for the travel costs for a member of the Hospice at Home team to drive to a patient’s home to make a home visit.

£20 – A listening ear…

£20 could pay for a one-hour counselling session for a bereaved family member, friend or loved one, delivered by a qualified counsellor.

£30 – Expert help…

£30 could pay for a one-hour home visit by a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Virtual Open Gardens 2020 is kindly sponsored by Hayter and Jonen Shipping


We’d love to hear from you

If you have any questions, or would like to speak with a member of St Clare Hospice staff about Virtual Open Gardens 2020, please get in touch with our Community Fundraising team. All enquiries can be emailed to or you can call 01279 773750 and a member of the team will get back to you. 

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