Take a tour of Bury St Edmunds’ hidden horticultural jewels

Bury St Edmunds Hidden Gardens, in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care. Pictured: participants Peter and Jan Baldwin ANL-151206-094801001
Bury St Edmunds Hidden Gardens, in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care. Pictured: participants Peter and Jan Baldwin ANL-151206-094801001

Final weeding and trimming is taking place at 30 gardens in the centre of Bury St Edmunds, which are opening to the public on Sunday.

The Hidden Gardens of Bury will be again raising money for St Nicholas Hospice Care.

Now in its 29th year, the event has so far raised more than £300,000 for the hospice, including a record last year of £24,483.

Diane Knights, one of the Hidden Gardens organisers, said: “It’s an anxious time for the gardeners as they worry there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything ready.

“But thanks to the army of people behind the scenes – the relatives, friends and neighbours who all muck in – visitors will be in for a treat.”

A wide variety of gardens will be throwing open their gates, from the formal to the historical and even the wildlife-oriented.

Among them are some perennial favourites, including the large gardens of 44 College Street, 60 Whiting Street, 17 Northgate Street and Turret Close in Westgate Street, with sweeping lawns, herbaceous borders, mature tress and hidden nooks.

Many gardens are enclosed by brick walls, which challenges green-fingered owners vertically as well as horizontally, but provides them with an enviable privacy in the town’s bustling centre.

Some good examples to check out are 83 Whiting Street, 41 Crown Street, 3 St Mary’s Square and the gardens of Groos & Co Solicitors, in Guildhall Street.

For visitors partial to less formal gardens, or those planted to attract wildlife, properties such as 10 Angel Hill - a new participant this year, with cottage-style planting for the butterflies and bees - may be up your street.

There’s also 6 College Lane, where hedgehogs are regular visitors, and 59 Southgate Street, an artist’s garden filled with inspirational blooms.

If you want a garden with an interesting history, try 42 Northgate Street, a former pub, or the central rose garden in the courtyard of the Guildhall Feoffment almshouses in College Lane.

A number of churches and chapels, including the Quaker Meeting House in St John’s Street and the Unitarian Meeting House in Churchgate Street, will also be opening their gardens.

Tickets for Hidden Gardens, held between 11am and 5pm, are available from The Apex box office and on the day from a marquee on Angel Hill.

The suggested donation is £5, and visitors will also be able to Gift Aid their payment.