MANY of Dorset’s finest gardens will be open to the public from this weekend under the National Garden Scheme to raise thousands of pounds for health charities.

Peter Jackson of Branksome Park in Poole has been involved with the scheme for almost 25 years.

His award-winning garden which has been featured in several books and magazines, was described in Gardening Which? as ‘secluded and magical’ capturing ‘the spirit of warmer climes’.

“There is a lot of hard work involved but it is worth it to see everyone enjoying themselves,” says Peter.

“We’ve had up to 350 visitors in the past – some of them will sit in the garden for hours.”

Peter created his exotic one-acre oasis from scratch.

He said: “It was a pine forest when we first bought it.

“I find gardening very therapeutic.

“Some people like to paint and in a way you need to take a similar approach to an artist. You have to think about the composition – the balance of colour and form, shapes and scent which all help to create the scene.”

Peter says that spring is one of his most favourite times of year.

“The garden is constantly evolving and changing.

“Spring is my favourite time of year because it signals the end of winter and there’s always something new to look at every day.”

Chris Morley, marketing manager for the National Gardens Scheme, said: “As a result of garden openings in 2013 we were able to donate £2.5million to the charities that we help support - a 17.5 per cent increase on the previous year.

“By visiting one of the 3,800 gardens, like Peter’s, not only will you see fantastic gardens but you’ll also be helping to support the work of Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Help the Hospices and Carers Trust.” Peter Jackson’s garden at 24a Western Avenue, Branksome Park, is open on Sunday from 2pm to 6pm, admission £3.50 (children free).

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