The gardens at Mulberry House, overlooking the Dart Estuary at Ridley Hill, Kingswear, opposite Dartmouth, in Devon. With four neighbouring gardens - at the Chart House, the Coach House, Mount Ridley and Ridley Gate - Mulberry House gardens will be open for the first time tomorrow, and also on Sunday 18 April, from 2pm until 6pm, in aid of the National Gardens Scheme Charitable Trust (NGS).

The five gardens are a close-knit group of Victorian medium-sized terraced gardens all overlooking the estuary: a great variety of shrubs, perennials and some spring bulbs will still be on display. Teas are available and at Mount Ridley gardens a Gauge 0 steam model railway will be working. Tickets - priced pounds 2.50 for adults, 25p for children - are sold at the gates and give admission to all five gardens.

The NGS has worked on similar lines since it began in 1927: owners of private gardens in England and Wales open them to the public on designated afternoons. As is the tradition with the NGS, a portion of the money raised at a garden opening can be given to a charity of the garden owners' choice: at Kingswear, the Army Benevolent Fund will be a beneficiary. The rest is distributed by the NGS, with 40 per cent going to the Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund, and the remainder being divided between the Queen's Nursing Institute, the Nurses' Welfare Service, the National Trust's Garden Fund, the Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Society and the Royal Gardeners' Orphan Fund. Last year the NGS raised pounds 1.5m from 2,900 gardens; this year over 3,000 gardens will open, a record number, with 500 opening for the first time.

Tomorrow, about 92 other gardens will be open on the same day, including the Chelsea Physic Garden, London; Charlton, near Banbury, Northamptonshire; Bryniau, Boduan, Gwynedd; and Shandy Hall, Coxwold, North Yorkshire, home of the writer Laurence Sterne. For further information, contact: The National Gardens Scheme Charitable Trust, Hatchlands Park, East Clandon, Guildford, Surrey GU4 7RT, telephone 0483 211535.

Photograph: Christopher Jones

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