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Ness Botanic Gardens takes part in the first ever National Gardens Open Day

The University of Liverpool's Ness Botanic Gardens will open for free to everybody on Friday 17 April as part of a new national initiative to give as many people as possible the chance to visit gardens across the UK and find out for themselves what makes gardens so brilliant.

National Gardens Open Day launched this year, is part of a wider week of activities - National Gardening Week (13-19 April) organised by the RHS and the country's biggest celebration of gardening. Thousands of people, gardens, charities, retailers, culture and heritage organisations and groups get involved in every year.

On the first ever National Gardens Open Day at Ness, there will also be the opportunity for visitors to get gardening advice from Ness staff and experts from the Chartered Institute of Horticulture from 1-4pm in the Visitor Centre.

As well as opening for free on Friday 17, Ness is also running free crafts & gardening drop in sessions for families on  Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15 and Friday 17 (12-3pm) with a range of activities from decorating eggs through to sowing vegetable and flower seeds for children to grow and enjoy at home.

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Editors' notes:

To attend the event or for further information please contact  Zoe Chapman zchapman@liverpool.ac.uk or Jen Lemon jenlemon@liv.ac.uk

1. National Gardening Week was launched four years ago by the RHS and since then has grown into the country's biggest celebration of gardening. Thousands of people, gardens, charities, retailers, culture and heritage organisations and groups get involved organising events throughout the week. This year, also sees the first ever National Open Gardens Day on 17 April.  The RHS are asking gardens that normally charge for entry or are closed to the public on 17 April, to open their doors for free. The aim is to give as many people as possible the chance to visit gardens up and down the country.

2. Ness Botanic Gardens were created in 1898 by Arthur Kilpin Bulley, a wealthy cotton broker from Liverpool. Passionate about plants, he funded various plant hunting expeditions to the Far East.  He established the renowned Bees Seeds company, introducing many new plants still grown across the UK today. The Gardens were donated to the University of Liverpool in 1948 by Bulley's daughter who developed Ness as a Botanic Gardens focusing on scientific collections, research, education and ornamental displays.  Today the Gardens attract over 60,000 visitors a year, contain award winning gardens and hold internationally important collection of plants.