PHOTO GALLERY: Norfolk’s most beautiful gardens open to public

Enthusiasts are free to explore dozens of garden gems usually hidden by hedges, gates and walls following the launch of the National Garden Scheme's 2011 Norfolk Guide.

The scheme, now in its 84th year, gives people of all ages the chance to meet the owners, get ideas, enjoy homemade refreshments and buy plants - all while enjoying a good old-fashioned snoop in some of the county's most beautiful gardens throughout this month.

But the NGS also has a serious side, raising tens of thousands of pounds for the charities it supports each year, including Macmillan Cancer Support and The National Trust.

Spring was in the air when the Norfolk guide was officially launched by garden photographer Marcus Harpur at the magnificent Holme Hale Hall, in Holme Hale near Swaffham, on Tuesday.

Fiona Black, one of the county organisers, will open The Old Rectory, Ridlington with West View, East Ruston while assistant county organiser Stephanie Powell will open Creake House with The Old Bakehouse and The Red House as North Creake gardens.

Also taking part for the first time are Pam and Alan Kew, of Bank Farm in Saddlebow, near King's Lynn. They have lived at the farm for about 55 years, but transformed an open field into a beautiful garden from scratch when they built a new house at the site in 1994.

Today, more than 3,700 gardens are included in the yellow guide and more than �25m has been raised in the last ten years.

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Jean and John Walton raised �1,252 when they opened their unusual garden, Dunbheagan, in Westfield near Dereham, for the first time last year.

• View a gallery of the open gardens in previous years at the top of this story.

• For a full list of Norfolk gardens taking part, click on www.norfolkgardens.org or pick up a Norfolk 2011 NGS Guide at tourist information centres, nurseries and garden centres.

• To read more, see today's EDP2 features supplement. Send your pictures of the open gardens to picdesk@archant.co.uk and we will publish the best ones online.