Britain’s toughest garden critic has been booted out of the National Gardens Scheme.

Anne Wareham (credit: Charles Hawes)

Anne Wareham, a presenter on Channel 5’s I Own Britain’s Best Home & Garden, had opened her modern romantic garden at Veddw House in Monmouthshire, for over 15 years.

But earlier this year, Anne wrote to The Spectator with a stinging criticism of the NGS, which raises millions of pounds for cancer charities.

Anne wrote: “It started as a scheme to let everyone, even hoi polloi, into posh gardens for a donation to charity. It now dominates the garden world, tainting all it touches.”

NGS president George Plumptre, who oversees 3,600 gardens that open for charity under The Yellow Book, was not impressed by Anne’s article.

At the time he wrote: “If Anne ever requires the support of a Marie Curie nurse, or ends up in a hospice, she might think back to one of her less edifying efforts as a journalist.”

Last month, when Anne asked why Veddw had been expelled from the scheme, George replied: “I don’t think you have any concept of how many hundreds of humble, innocent garden-owners and NGS volunteers were deeply hurt by your diatribe in The Spectator earlier this year. 

“I find it hard to believe that you would still want to open in aid of the NGS and, given no information about opening had been sent, in the circumstances you would not realise that we were not inviting you to take part.”

Anne told AG: “I didn’t expect the NGS to rejoice, but they have been aware of my views for many years, and have appeared to be cheerfully tolerant of them.”

Anne said that George was being “patronising and disingenuous”.

She summed-up: “I imagine most garden-openers were not so devastated by my article.

“They probably thought I was referring to someone else’s horrible garden. Everyone seems to know one horrible NGS garden.”

  •  Was the NGS right to kick Anne out of The Yellow Book? Have your say below. Please note: all comments are moderated and may take 24 hours to appear on the forum

  • Rosalind

    Surely the point of a charity is to raise money not to be slightly piqued by the comments of one critic?. If their backbone is insufficiently strong to withstand this in good grace, after all we are all entitled to our opinion, then it is a shame for the cancer charities it supports and that have benefitted from the funds raised by the critics open garden in the last 15 years.