CULCHETH Open Gardens is returning this weekend when residents will be throwing open their gates to raise money for St Rocco’s Hospice and Culcheth Methodist Church.

Fourteen gardens, including Culcheth Methodist Church Community Garden, will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday.

Some will be showcasing their green spaces while others will be selling plants or refreshments.

To preview the event, photographer Dave Gillespie visited Devina Ramanah-Beck in Culcheth Hall Drive to give a sense of what visitors can expect.

Below, Devina talks about why the lockdown periods made her appreciate her garden in a new way and how it is now a source of fresh food for the family.

What is your favourite feature?

One of our favourite features is the huge Christmas tree at the back of the garden, which brings a touch of magic during winter.

Devina Ramanah-Beck’s garden

Devina Ramanah-Beck’s garden

However, I would have to say the greenhouse is my favourite as it’s given us the ability to grow more food in all weathers.

How did you get into gardening?

Our extended families love gardening but up until the first lockdown, we rarely made time for gardening. When the first lockdown started we felt very fortunate to have this outdoor space in which to spend our time.

With our children’s after school activities cancelled, we had so much more time to spend in the garden and I discovered a newfound love for gardening.

Lena Ramanah-Beck

Lena Ramanah-Beck

With our children’s help, we recycled a pile of old pallets and made raised vegetable boxes, a compost bin and started to grow our own fruit and veg.

With our mix of Mauritian and Yorkshire heritage we have been growing food to help create some of our favourite dishes and inspiring new plates and flavours in the kitchen.

How long do you spend tending to your garden?

We used to view gardening as a chore, however I now look forward to spending any spare minute in the veg patch.

On average I would say I spend one hour per day in the garden. During the winter lockdown we started planting a few seeds of chillies, tomatoes and sweet peas on the windowsills, again using recycled materials as pots and cloches.

Devina Ramanah-Beck’s garden

Devina Ramanah-Beck’s garden

Now with everything planted out and growing fast, there’s always something to do in the garden and it’s great to be able to eat what we grow.

Did your garden turn into a bit of place of solace during the lockdown periods?

In 2006, my 22 year old sister Selina died of acute myeloid leukaemia. Since her loss our perspective on life has changed, so when lockdown came were incredibly fortunate that it simply slowed life down for us. This gave us the opportunity to spend time together and start gardening.

Devina Ramanah-Beck’s garden

Devina Ramanah-Beck’s garden

We are incredibly grateful to have our garden, especially during a time where it has been so challenging and sad for so many.

Hopefully, by taking part in the open gardens we can help to raise much needed funds to support and champion the wonderful care and service that both St Rocco’s Hospice and Culcheth Methodist give to people in Warrington.

Tickets are £5 in advance from Buds ‘n’ Shakes and Poyntons Florist Culcheth or £6 on the day from any garden. A ticket covers both days. Under 16s are free.