CHESTER Cathedral will open its gardens to the public for the first time ever on Saturday.
The cathedral will be taking part in the National Gardens Scheme and will become only the second cathedral in the country to completely open its gardens. Visitors will have unlimited access to the Cloister Garth, the 2012 Jubilee Garden, the Bishop of Chester’s garden and new developments in Abbey Street and on the cathedral green.
Philip Hunt, custos hortorum at Chester Cathedral and organiser of the scheme, said: “The National Gardens Scheme is an excellent opportunity to explore the only open gardens within the City Walls.
“The event will allow visitors to experience Chester Cathedral’s gardens like never before. As well as enjoying the Cloister Garth and the 2012 Jubilee Garden, visitors will also be able to take a sneak peak at the Bishop of Chester’s garden and can explore new developments in Abbey Street and on the cathedral green.
“The cathedral gardens are remarkable – they are funded entirely by donations from the Friends of Chester Cathedral and all of the garden work is carried out by dedicated and passionate volunteers.”
Vice-Dean, Canon Peter Howell-Jones, said: “We’re very pleased to be able to take part in the National Gardens Scheme for the first time ever this year. We feel privileged to be only the second cathedral in the country to open our gardens in this way. After a bumper summer of visitors since removing our admission fee, we look forward to welcoming people to the cathedral and its grounds and we hope people enjoy our green spaces as much as we do.”
Every year, National Garden Scheme gardens across England and Wales welcome about 750,000 visitors.
Most of the gardens which take part in the scheme are privately owned and open just a few times each year. The money raised by the initiative is used by the National Gardens Scheme to support nursing, caring and gardening charities. Last year, more than £2.5 million was raised.
The open day will be accompanied by a gardening exhibition in the cathedral’s South Transept and will include plans of garden developments and photographs of plants. There will also be a plant sale.
A horticultural-themed Choral Evensong sung by Chester Cathedral Nave Choir will follow in the cathedral’s iconic14th century quire stalls at 4.15pm.
Chester Cathedral will be taking part in the National Gardens Scheme on Saturday from 11am- 4pm. Admission brochures will be on sale for £3 and children will be allowed in for free. The tour route starts at the War Memorial entrance on St Werburgh Street.