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Autumn leaves

Celebrating autumn colours with the National Gardens Scheme


To celebrate the start of the new season, we held an autumn photography competition with our partner, the National Gardens Scheme (NGS).

Budding photographers could submit their snapshots of 'autumn colours' on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Telling your stories

Sally Monkhouse kickstarted the competition by sharing her story about her Father’s experience of Parkinson’s on our Facebook page. She told us about how opening her garden for the NGS has helped her celebrate her Father’s life, as well as raise vital funds for Parkinson’s UK.

Our hopeful entrants joined in by entering their photos from the first day of autumn, Thursday 22 September, through to Monday 3 October.

At the end of the competition, we shared Gilly Argyle’s experience of Parkinson’s, and how being out and about in the garden has helped her come to terms with her diagnosis.

Mervyn Peake Awards photography winner judges the competition

Gary Cowan won the photography category in our 2016 Mervyn Peake Awards with a beautiful landscape of his local countryside – making him the perfect judge for this competition.

Gary chose Alan Rowland's 'autumn leaves' (pictured above) as the winner of the competition.

Alan said: "An increasing interest in photography leads me to take pictures of all sorts of events, landscapes, objects and people but the unique is always fascinating, though sometimes only seen in the detail.

"Nature will never arrange these leaves in the image in this shape, colour or light ever again, wow. What I'm seeing will never be repeated ever again, I like that."

Alan won two tickets to the second annual NGS lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London on the 8 November. This year, Sir Roy Strong will be talking about the restoration of Shakespeare’s Garden.


The NGS have made it easy for you to get out and about and experience ‘Autumn Colours’ for yourself – visit their website to find your nearest autumn garden. You can also buy tickets to their annual lecture at the Royal Geographical Society.

Founded in 1927, the NGS has donated more than £45 million to nursing and caring charities through thousands of garden openings across England and Wales.

We're honoured to be the first guest charity in the 89-year history of the NGS to become one of their permanent partners. To date our partnership has raised an incredible £622,000 – enabling us to seed-fund nurses across the UK and improve care for hundreds of people affected by Parkinson’s.