RESIDENTS are being asked to throw open their garden gates to the general public.

Horticulturists are needed to support The Peace Hospice, Watford, by taking part in the charity's open garden scheme.

Throughout the summer, on designated days, gardeners welcome members of the public who, for a small fee, can enjoy a variety of different green spaces.

Jane Hopkins, who lives in Oxhey, has opened her garden to the public for the past 11 years.

She said: "When I started, there were two gardens and allotments open as part of the scheme. But it has really grown since then. Last year we had about 20."

As well as helping a good cause, Jane said the scheme gives people a chance to get different gardening ideas.

Jane said: "As many of the gardens are in Oxhey Village, which has a lot of Victorian terraces, they are quite small," Jane said.

"But there are lot's of interesting things you can do in a small garden. Sometimes you find the smaller gardens are more interesting, because you have to think a lot more about how you use your space."

Jane's own garden backs onto fields and has a water feature and lots of climbing plants.

Others featured in the Oxhey scheme include a wildlife garden, and a garden with a Moroccan theme.

Over the past few years, the Oxhey open gardens scheme has raised more than £1,000 for the hospice.

Anyone who lives in Oxhey who would like to take part in this year's open garden scheme can telephone Jane on 01923 241002. Gardeners living in other areas of south west Hertfordshire who would like to take part, or start their own open gardens scheme, can telephone 01923 335370.