Secret Gardens, Sunday May 14th, 2023
Secret Gardens, May, 2023.
Another bumper year for Secret Gardens 2023.
We sold about 4,000 tickets for over £35,000. The Toosey family organised the raffle and the refreshments at Prenton Pep and took in over £5,000. Donations, Sponsorship, Merchandise and fees from stall-holders brought in nearly £8,000. The total income was about £48,000. The Plant Stall made about £1,100 for the Friends of the Arno. The Woodcraft Folk got over £600 for providing kids’ entertainment.
Putting on Secret Gardens safely and efficiently is a surprisingly expensive affair. The total cost was nearly £12,000.
This leaves the magnificent sum of about £36,000 to share between the Oxton Society and our partner charities – the Terral Morgan Memorial Fund, Sundowns and the Birkenhead Youth Club, who get about £25,000 between them. The Oxton Society gets nearly £11,000 which supplements our modest membership fees and helps to pay for our community and conservation work, including Xmas Lights, Hanging Baskets, Newsletters, History work, including Blue Plaques and our admin costs.
Special thanks go to our joint coordinators, Kirsty Cotton and Lisa Stafford and all those who manage different aspects of the day. Also, to Monica Toosey, who is retiring from leading the refreshments team after many years, and Kate Wyness, retiring from overseeing the artisan stalls.
Finally, a huge thank-you to our very special garden owners who provide the core attraction for a great day out.
Special souvenirs of Secret Gardens 2023 now on sale
Secret Gardens 2022 breaks all records
This year’s Secret Gardens was a bumper year for all involved – the organisers (Kirsty and Lisa), the volunteers, the sponsors, local businesses, the entertainers, Artists, Friends of the Arno (plant stall) and the street food stalls. Prenton Prep once again transformed their grounds into a garden party – the Hub. 4,100 people bought tickets and many others just joined in the general festivities. And none of this would matter without our wonderful owners who prepared and opened up their beautiful gardens. After a two-year hiatus, Secret Gardens came back with a bang to break all records.
Great weather and pent-up demand resulted in ticket sales of about £36,500. The raffle and the refreshments at Prenton Prep, organised by the Toosey family, brought in over £5,000. Together with rental for the stalls and other donations the event made about £45,000.
Expenses came to about £6,000, including the road closure (£1,700) toilets, buses, St John’s (£1,500). This left about £39,000 for distribution between the four charities – Stick and Step, the Woodcraft Folk, the Shaftesbury Youth Club and, of course, the Oxton Society. After 2 year’s reduced income from the Gardens, this means that we now have the funds to continue our activities (Xmas Lights, Hanging Baskets, Blue Plaques, etc) and to consider how we can increase our work on conservation within Oxton.
One of the gardens being featured in the 2021 event
Secret Gardens 2019
The last ‘real’ Secret Gardens event in 2019 was a major success, helped by a beautiful day of sunshine which brought out the crowds in their thousands. Ticket sales were up by 10% on 2017 and over 3,000 visitors saw about 20 gardens. Our refreshments, Raffle and Plant Stall (Friends of the Arno) also made record returns, along with the children’s entertainments run by the Woodcraft Folk. A major departure was the Makers’ Market in the village centre, organised by Kate from Green’s shop with about 18 street food stalls and craft offerings – which proved to be very popular.
Since 2001, supported by over 400 volunteers, the event has raised over £320,000 for local charities. The 2019 charities, the Birkenhead Woodcraft Folk, Sundown’s, The Vikes Youth Club and The Oxton Society, shared over £20,000 proceeds. Secret Gardens won a Britain in Bloom (RHS) Award 2017.
View James O”Hanlon’s lovely photos of the 2019 event.