Sunnyside Rural Trust’s three 6-acre gardens in Hemel Hempstead, Northchurch and Berkhamsted will open for the National Garden Scheme for the first time in 2023, as a group on Saturday 13 May, 11am-4pm. Sunnyside Rural Trust is a therapeutic horticultural charity and social enterprise, which supports young people and adults with learning disabilities with training and employment at 3 garden sites in Dacorum.
The Sunnyside Rural Trust Trail is bookable for you to explore – 3 sites on just one ticket!
Sunnyside Hemel Hempstead is a Green Flag award site accessible from the Grand Union canal that is also a plant nursery growing peat free perennial and annual bedding for domestic and commercial clients. They have an orchard, quiet space and market garden growing a range of vegetables for their own use and to sell in the farm shop and use in the Sunnyside Up café, which makes a great barista coffee.
At Berkhamsted, located just above the town is Sunnyside’s Activity Centre. There are 2 rest gardens nestling under mature fruit trees including a fine specimen of the rare Aylesbury prune. There is a vegetable growing area and extensive cane and espalier fruit garden, with a woodland and hazel coppice, each busy with wildlife. They make delicious jams and chutneys from the fruit and vegetables.
Nestled alongside local allotments, the Northchurch site is a market garden and small animal farm. They grow vegetables to organic principles using ‘no dig’ methods and a variety of fruits. There are number of diverse habitats including an orchard with over 300 chickens, nature trail, wildlife pond and courtyard perennial garden. The site is also home to a small number of therapeutic animals. There is assisted wheelchair access where there are woodland and grass paths.
Sunnyside grew the perennial plants for landscape designer Tom Stuart-Smith’s garden in 2021 at the RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival. A select range of perennial plants, veg seedlings and herb plants will be available for sale as well as homemade chutneys and jams from Sunnyside’s own produce.
For more information, visit www.sunnysideruraltrust.org.uk.