Couple’s garden helps charity funds to grow

Visitors step into a floral wonderland when they venture into Terry and Eileen Kelly’s back garden.

All things bright and beautiful bloom in this heavenly haven which is so relaxing that it could be in a peaceful village in the countryside rather than just a couple of minutes’ drive from a busy main road in Chesterfield.

Open gardens, Terry and Eileen Kelly in their back garden

Open gardens, Terry and Eileen Kelly in their back garden

The colourful palette of plants pulls in hordes of visitors to grow charity funds by hundreds of pounds every year.

Five years ago, the couple signed up to the National Garden Scheme which enables members of the public to wander around the grounds of private properties in return for donations. The scheme supports nine charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, hospices and the Carers Trust.

Terry said: “People kept coming and saying ‘what a lovely garden - you ought to raise some money for charity.”

Since then they have collected more than £4,000 for good causes, with a fifth of the proceeds going to Ashgate Hospice.

Their open days at Byways, 7a Brookfield Avenue, are meticulously planned by Terry, who retired as a director with Spear and Jackson, and Eileen, who was headmistress at Unstone School before she retired.

Terry, 67, documents and photographs the plants for a guide which directs visitors to where they can be found. Eileen makes cakes, cookies, cheese scones and sausage rolls to sell.

Eileen said: “Neither of us see it as hard work - we enjoy talking to people about the plants and seeing people’s enjoyment of the garden. They come around the corner and get the wow factor with the colours of the flowers.”

For the first time, the couple are holding an open weekend rather than restricting it to one day. Visitors will be able to admire an abundance of fuschias, hostas, acers and grasses among the 425 varieties of plants on show to the public during Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31.

Eileen, 64, said: “Surely, we’ll get one decent day of weather over the weekend.

“Last year, the weather was horrendous and made the open day a washout after such a lot of effort.

“A lady came with her grandchildren when it was throwing down, paid her entrance fee and said ‘I’ve just come for a cake and a fuschia. The kids went home with boxes full of cake. I was delighted with that because I knew we weren’t going to get a large number of people.”

Their busiest open day was two years ago when 250 visitors beat a path to Byways after seeing its flowers featured in a national magazine.

The garden is open between 1pm to 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday when homegrown plants will be on sale. Admission is £3 for adults and free entry for children. For further information, call 01246 566376.