Gail Jones, Publicity Officer South Powys; started in March 2020 when the pandemic disrupted the usual induction.

However, this month provided the opportunity to travel to the splendid Garthmyl Hall, near Welshpool for the annual regional meeting fellow volunteers from across Wales and the Marches.

There was an exchange of what other counties have done and continue to do. Colleagues from head office shared plans for 2022 which include the national publicity for the Great British Garden Party moving to 16th – 24th July 2022 BUT you can choose any day across the year.

As NGS moves to its centenary there is an aspiration to create a fund to cover the overheads. This will mean all of the income from garden admissions are donated, currently 80p in every pound, so in 2021 donations of over £3 million were donated to caring and nursing charities.

The following week a second trip into Montgomeryshire to meet north Powys garden owners. The meeting was kindly hosted by the National Trust at Powis Castle.

There she met one of the co-chairs of the Welsh Queen’s Nurse Regional Group who addressed the group and will be working with her co- chair from south Powys, based at Bronllys, over next 3 years to raise awareness of The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI).

She shared how a Queen’s Nursing Institute committee member, Elsie Wagg, proposed the idea of opening private gardens to raise funds saying ‘We’ve got these beautiful gardens in the country and hardly anyone except their owners and friends ever gets to see them – why don’t we ask them to open next year for the Appeal?’ And in 1927 the National Garden Scheme was founded.

Attendees also learnt visitors have already booked online their places to visit Bryngwyn Hall, Llanfyllin, new garden Evancoyd Court, Presteigne and White Hopton, Newtown, which last year sold out.

The updates were followed by some chatting over a cuppa with lots of cakes to choose from matching the title of a slide she had ‘Great gardens, great cake’ on her laptop. Enthused she headed south to Rhosgoch Golf Club.

Usually at this time of year she would be sitting in the audience for Radnorshire YFC’s variety concert. After judging ‘A sign of Spring’, floral exhibits brought by members of Rhosgoch gardening club, Gail stood at the front of the room to give her first talk titled ‘Beyond the Garden Gate’. She covered the history of the National Garden Scheme, visiting NGS gardens and how your visits make a difference – beneficiaries.

Afterwards Gail said ‘I don’t know who was most thankful to reach the Thank you slide, me or the audience’. The feedback was positive and if you are looking for a speaker the presentation has pictures of some stunning gardens you can visit nearby.

Get in touch with Helen Anthony by email [email protected] (North Powys) or Gail [email protected]