A Repton couple who have raised more than £40,000 for charity over the last 20 years by opening their beautiful 'Tardis' of a garden to the public are preparing to do the same again this year.
Robert and Pauline Little have been welcoming visitors to their garden at 10 Chestnut Way for two decades as part of the National Garden Scheme and those who have not had chance to see the stunning array of colours can do so on bank holiday Monday, May 28, as they open it up from 1.30pm to 5.30pm.
They say their garden is very deceptive as it appears smaller than it is at first glance, just like Doctor Who's Tardis from the top TV show - much bigger than it looks once you get inside. Once visitors get inside it they are amazed at its little secrets bits and hidden pathways, they say.
The couple, both 65, became inspired to join the scheme after visiting other gardens and have not looked back since, acquiring regulars who want to take a peek around their garden each year.
They will also have activities for children, crafts and home-made tea and cakes on offer for people to enjoy while they visit.
Robert said: "We have always loved gardening and have been to lots of open gardens. We felt that our garden was as good as some of the others and the National Garden Scheme is a brilliant charity. It raises around £3 million for caring and nursing charities every year."
During this year's visit, guests will be able to see a blanket of purple with the alliums as well as clematis and roses among the hundreds of flowers dotted around the couple's Repton garden.
Every penny that the couple make from the events, from admission, food and drink and plant sales, goes to the charity scheme while they cover the rest of the expenses from their own pocket.
Pauline said: "We have always been interested in the garden all our married life and we have moved around to different houses. We always think of this home as a garden with a house as people have described it as being like a tardis.
"When you first come in it looks quite small but then you go through and it just expands. It is lovely to walk around as it has lots of paths and hidden bits - it is perfect for hide and seek.
"In the garden we do have around 1,500 different types of plants which come out at different times of the year. We are so proud of the total we have raised over the years but also very grateful to the people who come to help with things like serving the tea and cakes and on the plant stall as we could not do it on our own.
"Over the years it has just kept adding up and up and this year we are hoping to raise £3,000 for the scheme."
The couple have three children and five grandchildren with another on the way who all enjoy spending time in the garden. Admission at the weekend will cost £4 for adults and is free for children.
The National Garden Scheme raises money for The Queen's Nursing Institute, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Carers Trust, Hospice UK, Perennial, Parkinson's UK and other guest charities.
It is the most significant charitable funder of nursing charities in the country, donating more than £50 million so far by helping garden owners open their gardens to the public, sharing their passion and raising large amounts of money through entry fees, teas and slices of cake.
Other open gardens in the area
Lullington Open Gardens Weekend - Saturday and Sunday, June 23 to 24, from 1pm to 6pm. Gardens will be open around the village with classic cars and vehicles, homemade cakes and teas. Funds will go to the upkeep of the church and village hall. It costs £4 per person which covers both days.
More information is available by calling 01827 373690 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Repton Open Gardens - Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17, from 2pm to 6pm. The event will include four National Garden Scheme gardens, Repton Allotments and Repton Memorial Arboretum.
Scarecrows will be on display around the village and there will be prizes for the most entertaining and inventive ones. A children's Garden Trail will also feature in most gardens and sweets will be provided in the village hall for each completed entry.
Admission is £5 per adult and all of the proceeds will be in aid of St. Wystan's Parish Church funds. More information is available by calling 01283 703259 or emailing email@example.com.
Rosliston Open Gardens - Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8, from 1pm to 5m. Admission is £3 and all proceeds will go to Me & Dee, Rosliston Primary School and St Mary's Church Rosliston. More information is available by calling 01283 761011 / 07596 629886 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alrewas Open Gardens - Saturday, June 30, and Sunday, July 1, from 1pm to 6pm. It will feature work by local artists and Morris Dancers. Admission costs £5 for adults with proceeds going to Alrewas All Saints Parish Church and Alrewas Civic Society. More information is available by calling 01283 790067 or emailing email@example.com.
Rolleston on Dove Open Gardens - Sunday, July 8, 1pm to 6pm. Gardens will be available throughout the village with a chance to visit the community orchard and see work on the station project.
Tickets cost £4 for St Mary's Church. More information is available by calling 01283 813320 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tutbury Open Gardens - Saturday, June 30, and Sunday, July 1, from noon to 6pm. There will be cream teas, refreshments, and musical entertainment available.
Tickets cost £4 to raise cash for the Priory Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Tutbury. More information is available by visiting www.tutburyopengardens.org