The Faversham Society Open Gardens and Garden Market 2016 took place on Sunday 26th June and saw record numbers of visitors to the event. More than 1000 people from all over Kent, the Home Counties and London bought tickets by lunchtime and on the day 36 gardens, large and small, old and new, private and community opened their gates. Along with 30 garden-related market stalls, Faversham Open Gardens is well established as the largest open gardens event in the South East.
Of the 36 gardens, one third were gardens that had not opened their gates before to the public, or some not for a few years. Many visitors started early and either had bought their tickets in advance and had planned their routes, or were forming an orderly queue as the FOG tickets sales stall opened in the Market Place. One visitor reported she had visited 18 gardens in 4 hours on foot and several others came on bikes. People came with their dogs and teas, served in either the gardens or in Faversham’s many teashops and restaurants were an integral part of the day.
The days is designed to offer an enjoyable day out for families or groups of friends and the gardens included waterside gardens, a town meadow garden, walled gardens, terraced gardens and several tiny gardens, showing what can be done in a small space. A “Hunt the Golden Pebble” competition encouraged younger visitors to keep their eyes peeled for the golden prize, allowing their parents a little more time to peruse the participating gardens.
The Garden market with stalls ranging from specialist plants, vintage gardenalia, local crafts and foods, lent a festival air to the town and a plant creche on the FOG ticket stall meant visitors leave their larger purchases whilst they visited the gardens.
Next year’s event is already being planned and will take place on Sunday 25th June. Tickets will be available in advance from The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre, 15-17 Preston Street, Faversham from mid-May.