Tickets have now gone on sale for Open Garden Squares Weekend – which, for the first time, will be in association with the National Trust. With the event taking place immediately after the Diamond Jubilee weekend on Saturday & Sunday, June 9 & 10, 2012, 212 gardens in 27 of London’s Boroughs will be opening their gates for this unique weekend.
Tickets, costing just £9 if bought before the weekend and £12 during the weekend, give you the chance to visit a wide variety of inspirational community gardens, ranging from allotments through roof gardens and the historically important to three prison gardens. (Booking for prisons has to be done in advance.) This year 23 new gardens are taking part and 113 of the 212 gardens are opening exclusively for the weekend and are not usually open to the public.
From May 1, tickets can be bought in person from the City of London Information Centre by St Paul’s Cathedral or, for the first time, they can be purchased on line at http://opensquares.eventbrite.co.uk
Over the Weekend, 101 of the gardens will be holding a wide range of activities. The National Trust will be offering you the opportunity to ‘Meet the Gardener’ in five gardens. Visitors will be able to get advice to solve any gardening challenges and discover about different ‘themes’ such as growing food, going green and encouraging wildlife into your garden. The five gardens will be Earls Court Square (Meet Ed Ikin – the Nymans Gardener), Middle Temple (How to plan your garden), Bedford Square (Meet the Gardener from Polesden Lacey), Eaton Square (the focus will be on food) and Roehampton House (focus on wildlife).
Also new for 2012 - when people seem to be rushing around more than ever – Open Garden Squares Weekend has teamed up with Slow London for Slow Sunday. This will be an opportunity to step back from the hubbub of London life and explore the pleasures of slowing down. On Sunday (10th) at 2pm, Slow London volunteers will be in selected gardens and squares, including Rosmead – which was the garden used in the film Notting Hill - for a session on slowing down and developing mindfulness. Visitors will be encouraged to explore their senses by listening, looking and smelling the world around them. The Slow Down sessions will last for about 30 minutes, and are free of charge.
Again this year, there will be several opportunities to take part in guided cycle rides between the gardens. On Saturday (9th), the ride will start at 10am from Emma Cons Gardens, opposite the Old Vic Theatre at the junction of Waterloo Road and The Cut and will visit gardens south of the Thames. On Sunday (10th), the ride will start at 10am from the SW end of the Covent Garden Piazza in front of St Paul's Church – which is taking part in Open Garden Squares Weekend for the first time - and will visit gardens in Camden and Islington. The rides are led by experienced cyclists from the London Cycling Campaign and will return to the start points by about 5.30pm. Some cyclists may choose to leave or join the ride along the way. Both rides are free, but participants will need an Open Garden Squares Weekend ticket to visit the gardens. No need to book - just turn up.
Pre-booking is essential on the guided walking tours, all led by experienced and friendly City of London guides and Blue Badge guides. It's a great way to visit both some of the popular gardens as well as take in some of the more secret ones. On Saturday (9th) 90-minute guided walks, taking in the pleasures of the City gardens and important sites, are planned for both the morning and afternoon. On Sunday (10th) one-hour walks around the gardens of the Middle and Inner Temple in the morning and the afternoon. Elsewhere, two-hour walks around Bloomsbury, starting with a tour of the prestigious Bedford Square and ending up at the delightful BMA garden, will begin at 11am and 2pm. Please visit www.opensquares.org for more details.
Lots of other gardens have arranged wonderful activities too. Students from LAMDA will be performing at Chiswick House Walled Gardens at 12pm and 1.30pm, followed by performances at Hogarth’s House at 3pm and 4pm on Sunday (10th), while numerous gardens will be hosting activities for children such as a bat-box-making workshop at the Natural History Museum and Punch & Judy in Eaton Square. Entrance to the weekend is FREE for children under the age of 12. Secret Orchardin New Cross and Caledonian Park are holding knitting workshops and SpitalFields City Farm are encouraging people to visit their Guinea Pig Village!
New events will be added to the website. Please visit www.opensquares.org for more details.
For more information, please visit
www.opensquares.org or follow us on
Twitter @opensquares or
There is also a blog Tales from Duck Island Cottage, which is updated on a monthly basis.
For further media information and images, please contact Robin Saklatvala, Open Garden Squares Weekend, on 07734748286 or send an email.