CORNISH COMMUNITY OPEN THEIR GARDEN GATES FOR CHARITY

PUBLISHED: 11:40 25 July 2014 | UPDATED: 13:17 30 August 2017

DAVID-&-NAOMI'S-HOUSE-(1)

DAVID-&-NAOMI'S-HOUSE-(1)

A small community near Liskeard is opening their gardens in aid of St Luke's Hospice in July and August

A small community near Liskeard is clubbing together to open their gardens in aid of a hospice this summer. CATHY SAYERS discovers it takes a lot of organisation but the reasons behind the opening are heartfelt.

We are sitting around a kitchen table in the Cornish village of Trehunist. By we’ I mean myself and two of the garden owners taking part in the St. Luke’s Garden scheme. This charity resonates with the people concerned. One of them, Susan Concannon lives opposite.

“The cause is important because I’ve seen personally how hospice care is not just for the dying but for their family. Also you never know if you’re going to need it some day.”

The Cornish community in this area isn’t wealthy but people bring flowers, cheese or wine when they come to visit. For our garden opening day, we’re inundated with cakes and people also give home-made preserves.

Susan is American and moved to the village of Trehunist in 2010. Her sister died of breast cancer and both her in-laws also used hospice care. The village signed up with St. Luke’s a couple of years ago and have learnt from their experience of garden opening.

“It’s nerve wracking in the build up to the day – you don’t want someone to say – why did I pay for this?’ so I spend a lot of time weeding to make sure everything looks shipshape. My husband Paul, does all the manly stuff!”

We are sitting in David Jones’ kitchen. Over coffee he explains how the whole garden opening enterprise started. “We sent an email out to everyone in the village. The uptake was overwhelming. People came forward to help immediately.”

Five gardens are taking part in the garden walkabout opening at Trehunnist. The gardens themselves are a draw but so are the added extras laid on to entice the public to enjoy their time. There is the wonderful array of different flavoured and textured cakes all made and served by volunteers. Plant stalls abound and Susan has organised a BBQ and live music in her garden.

“There’s a festive feel to the whole event. This is where the community really comes together. From the moment people arrive and are guided to free parking courtesy of the local farmer to when they leave this is rural life at its best.”

David explains how his career in the RAF lead him to Hertfordshire at one point and he didn’t have the same experience of people coming together in the community to help for a common cause.

“When you’re in the city in my experience you’re more anonymous. Everyone knows each other in our village and they’re willing to help out.”

Susan agrees: “In a rural community people share. The Cornish community in this area isn’t wealthy but people bring flowers, cheese or wine when they come to visit. For our garden opening day, we’re inundated with cakes and people also give home-made preserves.”

This year there’s also a raffle with an offer for a night’s spa stay away for the lucky winners near Peterborough at the Orton Hotel Spa. Also for war gaming enthusiasts, one of the gardeners has a mock battle display which will be on view in his garage.

As for David, he’s an avid vegetable grower – and his veg patch will be on show alongside the garden tended by his wife Naomi. “Two years ago I won best in show for my cabbage at the local garden society, so when we opened for St. Luke’s in 2012 I had people coming up and asking where the cabbage came from and I showed them the gap in the patch!”

“It was so successful when we opened five gardens two years ago for St. Luke’s that we’re doing it again,” explains David. “We have a wide variety of gardens for people to see, wander around and enjoy and that’s why we believe we appeal to gardeners. Non gardeners also come because of the worthy cause and due to the beautiful spaces to enjoy and the refreshments and entertainments on offer.|”

Susan is already working towards the big day. She’s loved gardening since her childhood and appreciates the community aspect to the event. “A couple of days before opening I noticed a gap in the planting in my garden and mentioned it to Naomi and David. Soon afterwards Naomi came round with some heuchera and geraniums. That’s the community life here I so appreciate which comes together when we open for St. Luke’s!”

The Trehunist Walkabout will be open as part of the St. Luke’s Hospice Open Garden Scheme on 27 July between 11am – 4pm. Admission £5. Refreshments and other attractions include a plant sale, open artist studio, BBQ and light musical entertainment. Trehunnist Village, Cornwall, PL14 3SD can be reached on the A38 between Liskeard and Plymouth by turning right at Tideford onto Church Road. Then follow the orange arrows to Trehunist.

St. Lukes Open Garden Scheme: offers 25 varied garden across Cornwall and Devon in 2014. It lasts until October.

Many of the gardens are not normally open to the public and therefore offer a unique and private insight into garden planting and planting schemes

This is a fund raising exercise and volunteers from the hospice will be on hand to help and answer questions at each garden opening. If you want to get involved in St. Lukes volunteering please call 01752 246594 for more information.

ABOUT ST LUKE'S

Since 1982, St. Luke’s Hospice has been supporting patients with life limiting illnesses in the last months, weeks and days of their lives.

The service includes a 20 bed In Patient Unit at Turnchapel, a Hospital Palliative Care Team at Derriford Hospital, an Education team and a Community team providing care at home.

St. Lukes cares for more than 3,500 patients every year across East Cornwall, Plymouth and South West Devon

St. Lukes Community team consists of nurses, social workers and occupational therapists. They treat more than 300 patients every week at home.

With only a third government funding, St. Luke’s has to raise more than £4.5 million every year. 86p of every £1 donated goes straight to patient care.

The charity has more than 30 shops across Cornwall and Devon. St. Luke’s in on eBay and also generates funds from recycling and Gift Aid.

Volunteers are the driving force behind St. Luke’s, with over 1,600 helping across the whole charity.

stlukes-hospice.org.uk/opengardens

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