A GARDENING support scheme for adults with learning difficulties is celebrating joining a select group of gardens across the UK.

New Routes garden project, based at Victoria Park and run by charity MacIntyre Learning, was approved as an official member of the National Open Garden Scheme, joining just 3,500 special gardens around the country.

And the project is celebrating its success by hosting an open day on Saturday, inviting people to come and see their pristinely-kept premises first hand.

Sarah Tregilgas, senior learning support worker at the charity, said: “This is so exciting for us – it’s all down to the people who work here who put all the effort and hard work in.

“The lady who visited to judge us was absolutely blown away by our garden because it’s so different.

“It really is very special and we’re very, very proud.”

The ‘secret garden’ has been based at Victoria Park for 15 years, and boasts a scenic two and a half acre orchard with more than 50 trees and a range of wildlife and flowers.

The area also features a cafe, a learning centre and a polytunnel, providing those who work there with resources to both relax and develop their gardening skills.

“The garden so beautiful and is really starting to bloom now,” Sarah added.

“We had never applied to be a National Open Garden before, but we decided to go for it this year.

“A lady then comes round to check that you adhere to the very high standards – I think we all shed a little tear when she decided we should be put onto the scheme.”

In addition to its picturesque scenery, the project also runs its own not-for-profit business selling fruit and vegetables, money that is then reinvested in compost and seeds to further the development of the garden.

Sarah said: “This gardening scheme is very important for the people who work here, so receiving this accolade really is very special.”

The open day will be selling refreshments, home-baked cakes and seasonal vegetables, with admission costing £4 for adults and free for children.

It will seek to raise money for a number of nursing and health charities, and will provide people with the opportunity to enjoy Warrington’s very own nationally-recognised garden.