Win a copy of Secret Gardens of East Anglia- and here’s an update on my fund-raising plans

I have always believed people are amazingly kind and generous. Now I have the proof.

A week ago I wrote here about combining my gardening skills to raise money for Rainbows Children’s Hospice. And the response has been overwhelming. I wrote about giving talks to garden groups- and hosting open gardens. And immediately my lovely garden design customers Pat and John Stanley agreed to help. And best-selling writer Barbara Segall offered to give a talk on her new book Secret Gardens of East Anglia.

Here’s a poster for the event.

As soon as I mentioned Rainbows, Fiona from The Printers company in Loughborough offered to do the artwork and produce the posters for me. Thank goodness she did, as my first attempts were very amateurish and you’d have laughed to see them! Here’s Fiona, left with her assistant Maggie, right.

As soon as I had my posters, I whizzed around local shops and businesses asking them to put them in their front windows. Not one person turned me down. Here’s Googie in her shop – Googie’sFlowers at East Leake, near Loughborough. And as well as letting all her customs know, Googie has offered some gifts for the raffle.

The response on social media has been truly wonderful and supportive. On the day I announced my fund-raising plans, writer and gardener Gill Heavens sent the most fabulous card wishing me all the best with my projects. Such lovely, encouraging words. It actually made me cry, to be honest. I was so grateful for her generous donation as well, which I just kept looking at, as I couldn’t believe that I had set in motion a series of events that would lead to kind people sending money for Rainbows. Gill is also on twitter @GillHeavens which is where we first met.

Writer and blogger Alison Levey of blackberrygarden.co.uk @papaver on twitter very kindly offered to give Barbara accommodation for the night. I’m so grateful, as our spare room doesn’t bear inspection at the moment! It is in need of a complete renovation. I feel another blog post coming on…..

My dear friend and neighbour Charles Geary from award-winning Leicestershire company Geary’s Bakeries has promised to donate all the bread for our afternoon tea. And my amazing and ever-supportive Mum is making the cakes! Our local Co-op supermarket at East Leake is supplying the tea, sugar and milk.

I wrote a review of Barbara’s book Here . Publishers Frances Lincoln, part of the Quarto Publishing Group, have offered two copies to give away to readers of my blog. To win a copy please post a comment below and two will be picked out at random. Terms and conditions: The competition closes on 12th November. Entries after this time will not be counted.Open to readers world wide. Prize cannot be exchanged for a cash alternative. Winners chosen at random and will be contacted via the blog or on twitter. Winners to provide their postal address and books will be sent in the post via Frances Lincoln. Secret Gardens of East Anglia can also be purchased from amazon Here. Please also say in your comment if you don’t wish to be included in the give-away. Good luck everyone! And never underestimate the power of a smile 😊

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51 thoughts on “Win a copy of Secret Gardens of East Anglia- and here’s an update on my fund-raising plans

  1. Children’s Hospice is such a wonderful thing to raise money for! Blessings to you! And the book looks like it would be delightful to read, I went and read your review of it.
    It gave me a peaceful feeling just looking at the pictures you posted. A book that can bring peace right now amidst the chaos of this world is a true delight! 🙂

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  2. It would be great to win a copy of this book. Not least as my two children, with whom I – obviously – always holiday in East Anglia, are not avid garden-visitors (to say the least). So, I have spend lots of time in East Anglia whilst having had chance to visit only one or two gardens. The book would at least allow me the vicarious pleasure of visiting from the comfort of my armchair…

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    • What an opportunity! How lucky to holiday in East Anglia. I have always wanted to go to Ulting Wick. I’ve never seen 10,000 tulips in one garden before. It must be a sight to behold. Good luck with the competition. And thank you for reading and getting in touch.

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  3. For all the bad news we see on TV or hear on the radio, I believe there’s more good than bad in the world and your post proves it. So many kind people offering whatever they can for such a worthwhile cause. I hope you raise lots of money for this deserving charity. I’ve read reviews of the book on a couple of blogs now and it sounds very interesting so I’d love to be included in the draw please.

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    • That is so true, Jo. I have never seriously tried to raise money for anything before. I always help people with sponsorship, and put money into tins when I see someone collecting, but this is my first attempt at helping one charity. I believe that every little helps. Thanks for reading and for getting in touch. Good luck 🙂

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  4. I like the new blog name and the header picture.
    This is a lovely post with good pictures about your admirable fund raising venture, which I’m sure will do really well. It’s great to see people supporting you like this.
    Please don’t include me in the draw as I’ve already got a copy of that wonderful book. xx

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    • Thank you Mike. Thanks for your kind words. It literally took me a week to work out how to change the blog. Hopefully it will be easier to find. I wish I was more computer savvy. Still, I enjoy chatting with fellow gardeners so it is really worth it. Loved your review of the book. So interesting to see all our different views on it. Have a great weekend. I’m off to my mum’s again, and doing our stint in the in-laws’ garden again tomorrow. It’s looking fab there too. xx

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  5. Thank you for the mention Karen, you are most welcome. You must however understand the reason that I sent my mote. It is not only because the hospice is an amazing place, doing wonderful things for those who are desperately in need of it and therefore a thoroughly worthwhile cause. It is also because you have got off your proverbial and done something constructive to make things better for them. I, for one, respect you and admire you and wish I could be as good a person as you are. That is why. So there! x

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    • Ah, Gill, now you’ve made me cry- again! Every time I feel my courage failing me, I get out your little card and read the words you wrote to me. Your kindness bolsters me up and makes me brave. This morning I agreed to give a talk to a garden group and then sat wondering if I could actually do it! It’s amazing what you can achieve if you just put one foot in front of the other. But I couldn’t actually do anything without the fabulous unstinting support from you and all my other friends on social media. I am so grateful and humbled by your belief in me. Any success I have in this, is shared with you. Totally. So there! Xx

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  6. Oh Karen, I am so proud of you taking this step. Not only is it such a wonderful cause but it is taking you out of your comfort zone – and as you have already discovered people will rally round to support both the charity and yourself, a real win-win situation all round. I shall consult my calendar and hopefully support you on the day and in the meantime please include me in the draw – must have missed your review and will go back and read it now ps did you warn us you were going to give your blog a name?! 😉

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  7. What a fantastic way to raise money for a wonderful cause. I’m sitting at the kitchen table with hubby trying to work out a way of joining you on the day. As we are 2.5 hrs away (North Wales) it’s a case of getting dog sitters and childcare. I will ask my garden group if any would like to join us too. I held a Macmillan coffee morning on 29th September and raised £700! The help I received by raffle donations and cakes was overwhelming! Not forgetting the friends that made tea and cleared away. Doing anything charity related gives you a huge sense of pleasure and gratitude. Wishing you a fantastic day and hope to see you there, with cake and a crowd! Xx

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      • Wow! Thanks for the offer, so kind of you. Sadly, I may not be able to because I have school runs to do on the Monday morning and my hubby has work. I will have a good think and see if I can jiggle a few things as I’d love to see Stoneywell and stay with you of corse! Xx

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      • There’s always another time. A friend has a Manor House bed and breakfast down in the village and she has offered to help out. However, if you can’t stay this time, by next summer we might have a brand new guest room here (hopefully). You mustn’t struggle to come. Your kind wishes are all that I need. Much love, Karen xx

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      • I’m sure I can tempt you to stay over next time.we have national trust gardens at Calke Abbey and Stoneywell near here. Would love to show you around the best bits and treat you to cakr and tea. Also look up Easton Walled Gardens which is an hour from here 🙂 xx

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  8. I think as a nation we are a charitable lot. Just seeing the amount the NGS raises each year from garden visits. I wish we lived closer to come, you have my best wishes. A charity that we have supported in the past is Greenfingers. They have a website and build gardens for children’s hospices.

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    • Thank you so much Brian. Your good wishes mean a lot to me. You are supporting me just by reading and getting in touch. I am very grateful. I too support Greenfingers. I met the organisers in February and they explained about the hospice gardens they are in the process of building. Thanks again for your kind words. Karen

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  9. Karen, I’m so proud of you. The work you are doing to raise money for the Rainbow Children’s Hospice is fantastic, magnificent: it is a person with a heart of gold. Karen, who did not get her voice on the radio, has moved and has set aside her safe area and see what she has achieved! A famous writer giving a talk about her book “Secret Gardens of East Anglia”. It must be said that there are also very good people around the world who supported it: but the merit is all yours Karen, you have started it and it has moved everything and it will turn out great. If I lived in the United Kingdom I would go to the talk and have tea. But I live in Spain. I do not want the book, I do not feel worthy of it: that another person who can donate money or go to his talk will keep it. Karen admired her and admired her Mother for her help. Greet your Mother from me. Greetings from Margarita 🙂

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    • Thank you so much for all your love and support. Your words have really moved me tonight. I am so lucky to have you and all my other friends on here rooting for me and wishing me well. It is beyond my wildest dreams to have such encouragement and backing from everyone! It’s amazing what can be achieved, even if you have a very quiet voice! I’ll keep you posted on progress. Much love and greetings from Karen – and Mum 🙂 xx.

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  10. What an inspiring effort you have made and are making. I will be opening my garden for NGS next year to help contribute to charities that helped my family recently. I should love a read of this book as it is an area of the country we visit annually.

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    • How wonderful. Please let me have details of your ngs opening Dorris and we will see if we can make it. Thanks also for your very kind words which have bolstered me up today. Good luck with the prize draw. x

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  11. Wow! Secret? Gardens? East Anglia? Rainbows Hospice!?! 🌈
    You have my attention! A great cause to raise awareness & money for. They are a charity & depends on donations to do their great work.
    As for the gardens of Norfolk & Suffolk would be a gfab read. After having a bolt hole in Wells next the sea for many years, I have been spoilt by many great gardens, but secret ones? I love Holkham Hall’s walled garden, the maze at Somerlaton Hall & creake Abbey’s plant fair of events I have enjoyed. To think there are these plus secret ones to discover is an exciting prospect indeed. Xxxzx🌻

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    • Thank you Annie. Mum and I Love Wells. We stay at a little log cabin right near the sea. Thanks so much for reading and for commenting. Rainbows is a truly wonderful charity- almost totally supported by donations. Good luck with the prize draw 🙂 x

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  12. Karen, what wonderful work you do – introducing gardening, plants and nature to us. On top of that you work so hard for others too – awareness of mental health issues which is so needed and a children’s hospice. Words cannot describe the work such places do for everyone involved. You are a true inspiration- thank you.

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Shen. I feel like all I do is plant the seed of an idea in people’s heads and see what happens. Luckily there are a lot of kind people in this world- all willing to do their bit, where they can, to help others. I don’t really do anything more than set the wheels in motion, and see where ideas take me. Actually, it’s people like you who are the real inspiration. You back me up with your kind encouragement and support- which is always much appreciated. Thank you again for reading and getting in touch. All the best. Karen xx.

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  13. A wonderful blog Karen, a peaceful read over a snatched lunch. Rainbows is such an incredible charity that provides such invaluable care, support and love not only to the children and young people who access their services but the whole family. I hope the sun shines for your afternoon tea; its bound to be a great success, what could be more pleasurable than talking about gardens whilst eating home made cake!! The book looks like a wonderful read, just the thing to curl up with as the nights draw in.

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    • Thank you Lucy. Rainbows certainly is an amazing place full of wonderful, dedicated people. I’m so pleased to be doing something, however small, to help them. Tickets are selling nicely. Thank goodness. And I’m madly dashing about organising supplies for our afternoon tea. Barbara’s book is a fabulous read with lots of inspiration for gardeners. Thanks again for reading and getting in touch. All the best. Karen x

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  14. One of my abiding memories is of joining Ursula Buchanan with a fund raising event for Rainbows held at Holme Pierrpont Hall. That day, I found out what a fabulous charity Rainbows is and how vital is the work that they do. So what a combination you have chosen having a super lady like Barbera Segall, who must soon be in line for a lifetime acheivment award in our industry, and Rainbows being the recipients of the funds raised. All power to your elbow Karen. John. E. Stirland.

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    • Thank you John. You are right about Barbara. She’s so lovely and she deserves an award. I’ll let you know how I get on. Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment. All the very best – karen x

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  15. I wish I lived closer, this is an event I’d love to support, not least for listening to the lovely Barbara Segall. I’m sure it will be a huge success, as will your talks, because your heart is behind this and because you’re a good person. In reading through comments, I’m intrigued by the reference to Stoneywell – are you related to Ernest Gimson? I’ve just joined the NT so will put this property on my list to visit! Caro x
    PS. I’d love a copy of Barbara’s book 🙂

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    • Thanks so much Caro. I wish you could come too. Would be lovely to have a good catch up. Stoneywell isn’t far from here, if you want me to show you around next spring. Yes, I married into the family. There’s a lot of Gimsons in the county. Sadly we are the poor relations :)) x

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      • When I visit Stoneywell, I’ll definitely take you up on your offer of a tour, thank you! Never mind being the poor relations, the connection is there, how exciting. I love the arts and crafts movement, William Morris’ house is on the agenda as well! Caro x

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      • We had a chair and a cabinet once, in the family. Donated it to the museum. So pretty, but a bit delicate for family life. You must go to Compton Verney where they have the gimson furniture that used to be at Stoneywell. See you soon, I hope x

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