Sidmouth gardens open for charity weekender

Barbara and Alan Mence with Jessie the dog are looking forward to opening their Woolbrook Park garden to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 4774-24-14AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders Barbara and Alan Mence with Jessie the dog are looking forward to opening their Woolbrook Park garden to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 4774-24-14AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

Saturday, June 14, 2014
6:00 AM

Green-fingered explorers can take inspiration from the sights and smells of a pair of very different Sidmouth gardens as they open for charity this weekend.

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Barbara Mence looks forward to opening her Woolbrook Park garden to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 4773-24-14AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo OrdersBarbara Mence looks forward to opening her Woolbrook Park garden to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 4773-24-14AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

Barbara and Alan Mence are inviting guests to their gently sloping, zig-zagging space at Rowan Bank in Woolbrook Park, tempting them in with coffee and cake.

Meanwhile, Sidmouth in Bloom chairman Lynette Talbot and treasurer Peter Endersby are welcoming visitors to their Byes Reach home in Coulsdon Road.

The couples have teamed up to open for the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) and hope their flowers, plants and trees will inspire and delight.

“People stay for ages sometimes,” said the 77-year-old. “Some come for a walk in nice surroundings; others come for tips or to share their own experiences.

“People are astonished by how much there is here, and it’s always changing – even from week to week you see different things. I absolutely love it.

“There’s always something to see, people are always finding things they didn’t see flower last year.”

She and Alan, 81, moved to the house in 2004, and Barbara said she was daunted at first by the steeply sloping lawn, but they had it landscaped and it soon took shape.

Visiting other open gardens and the immaculate National Trust offerings helped direct them as to what they wanted, and it now features trees, shrubs, bulbs and perennials.

Barbara said a lot of visitors settle in for coffee and cake – she bakes up to eight varieties and her pecan and coffee is a favourite – and often stay for as long as an hour.

They have been opening their garden for the last four years, and teaming up with Lynette and Peter has raised £1,900 for the NGS over the last two.

Her and Alan’s garden features steps that lead to a wide path gently rising to a woodland edge of birch and rowan, with a shady seat under Mexican pine.

Their colleagues’ garden is wheelchair accessible, and is described as an edible garden with herbaceous borders, colour-themed flower beds, a pond and a rockery that backs onto the Byes.

Both will be open from 2pm until 5.30pm today (Saturday) and Sunday, and again in the August bank holiday weekend.

Just £4 will give access to both.

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