Visit open garden at Haconby

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It must be spring – one of the first open gardens of the season is taking place this weekend.

Cliff and Joan Curtis have created a delightful garden at their home at 21 Chapel Street, Haconby, near Bourne.

Once again they are opening it to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

The garden is open on Saturday and Sunday (11am to 4pm) and the couple will have plants for sale, as well as home-made teas – and hot soup in case it’s a cold weekend!

Out of an old farmyard plot covered in rubbish and old sheds behind an 18th century cottage, Cliff and Joan have created a small walled garden with a paved area, a pool a large alpine planted area and intensively planted beds and borders.

Cliff and Joan moved into the house in 1970 and spent around 20 years working on the garden before opening to the public 26 years ago.

During much of that time Cliff also ran a smallholding on the half-acre plot, rearing pigs as a hobby alongside his day job.

He says when they first opened there weren’t that many gardens filled with snowdrops, but he adds: “Now everybody is on the bandwagon so we don’t get so many visitors.”

Having said that, Cliff expects to receive around 300 visitors over the two days, once again raising money for charity.

This weekend, the snowdrops in Cliff and Joan’s garden will be looking spectacular, along with other spring flowering bulbs – and in the autumn, when the couple open their garden, there is colour with asters, dahlias, salvias and many autumn flowering yellow daisies.

Cliff said: “The snowdrops are very early this year so it looks now that we shall have a reasonable show.

“There are quite a few other spring flowering bulb in flower creating a slightly different picture, such as crocus, cyclamen, scillas and good clumps of hellebores.”

Keen gardeners will find that Cliff and Joan are extremely knowledgeable plants people who are very happy to share their wealth of experience and love of gardening – and their gardening tips are well worth hearing.

Admission to the garden is £3 for adults, children free. Visitors are also welcome by appointment on 01778 570314 or email

• The National Gardens Scheme raises over £2.6million every year for national nursing, gardening and other charitable causes. It is the single largest benefactor to Macmillan nurses and Marie Curie.