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Over £28,000 Has Been Donated in an Attempt to Save The Garden House

Published on May 21st 2020
Acer Glade, The Garden House
One of the finest gardens in England, famous for its stunning snowdrop collection and favoured by BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Toby Buckland may be able to open its gates once again. However, earlier this month, its future was hanging in the balance.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, The Garden House, in Buckland Monachorum, Devon was forced to close, but the decision and potential impact on vital funds places their existence at risk.
Summer Cottage, The Garden House
Image credit: The Garden House
At the beginning of May, as part of's Pay It Forward – a scheme to support businesses, organisations and the self-employed through the coronavirus crisis – the Dartmoor-based charity launched a crowdfunding campaign urging friends, partners and visitors to support and donate to help save The Garden House for generations to come. And in just over a week, they raised over their target of £25,000. At the time of writing this article, the total stands at £28,391.
Chairman Matt Jackson says: as we are a charity and a not-for-profit organisation, we are ineligible for support from the Government.
Snowdrops, Galanthus plicatus
Image credit: The Garden House
‘Once it was obvious [the situation wasn’t going to change] for a long time, we realised we needed to cover our overheads and needed some top-up funds to help us with that.
‘I thought [raising the funds] would be really hard work and that we would be fighting tooth and nail until the last hour because it’s a lot of money and it’s a lot to ask of people,’ he adds, ‘we’ve been absolutely gobsmacked by the support and just how generous people have been. It goes a long way to show how people value our garden, but also gardens – local places they have fallen in love with and really want to support. It’s been phenomenal. I can’t say anything better than that.’
Included within the total amount, The Garden House team also received £500 of match funding from Devon County Council.

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People are still being encouraged to support The Garden House by simply donating or pledging money in return for rewards: £10 pledged gets a tweet of thanks, £18 results in an enjoyable day at The Garden House and £20 will get you a cream tea experience for two at their much-loved tea room while £35 pledged will receive an annual membership; there are also lifetime memberships, goodie bags, tours with the head gardener and grand days out on offer. Plus, for £1,500 you can sponsor a hand carved oak bench for The Garden House which will feature your name.
‘If anyone can give any more, then so much the better. We will do wonderful things with any extra funds. We are guaranteed the £25k, so we’ve hit the target; anything else that [we receive] is a bonus,’ Matt says.
The Garden House
Image credit: The Garden House
With April, May, June and July usually being the busiest months for the garden and a huge source of income, the organisation have been forced to use banked cash that would normally help keep the garden ticking over during the winter.
Matt explains: ’Not only will [the money raised] go towards cushioning us for the winter period, but we will be able to pursue family-friendly projects again that we had to put on hold.’
The money will also provide funds for:
  • plant care and garden maintenance
  • supporting student gardeners so they can continue to look after the garden and finish their course
  • providing jobs and volunteering opportunities
Magnolia, The Garden House
Image credit: The Garden House
The house and gardens that form The Garden House were bought in the 1940s by Lionel and Katharine Fortescue. Over the next 40 years, the Fortescue’s created a garden which was – and continues to be – viewed as one of the finest in Britain. The Garden House is now owned by The Fortescue Garden Trust, a charity dedicated to the continuing the preservation and maintenance of the beautiful garden.
‘The Garden House has an important collection of special plants and it has got a long heritage of important gardeners marking it,’ claims Matt, ‘but, also the crowdfunder has proven, it’s in our local community’s hearts.’
Tom's Steps, The Garden House
Image credit: The Garden House
Matt and The Garden House team are extremely grateful for and overwhelmed by the donations.
‘[We want to say] a huge and immeasurable thanks. We never thought that this support would be out there in such a powerful way and, therefore, we are determined to put [the money] to the best use. The horizon is looking a bit friendlier now and [the money] is going to help us with cash flow that allows us to work on getting the garden open for people again.’
You can support the campaign or donate via their website.
Walled Garden, The Garden House
Image credit: The Garden House

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