Green fingers are crossed for fine weather this weekend, when the country’s biggest open garden festival takes place. The National Garden Scheme (NGS) has more than 300 gardens opening on June 7-8 in aid of cancer charities Macmillan and Marie Curie. Most gardens are privately owned and not generally open to the public; visit www.ngs.org.uk to find your nearest.

 
Cae Newydd on Anglesey is one of the gardens open this weekend

Research commissioned by the NGS reveals -as if it were necessary-that time spent in a garden promotes health and happiness. In a survey of 2,000 people, one in three associated the garden with happy childhood memories.
 
The actress Jane Asher, who is promoting this weekend, recalls: ‘My grandmother had a large weeping willow in her garden in Essex with a tap right in the middle of the exciting, gloomy tent created by the drooping branches. I remember the lovely feeling of the wet, muddy, quishy grass on my bare feet.’

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