Young fairy door designers have seen their creations brought to life at Furzey Gardens in Minstead.

Dozens of children took part in an online competition to design new doors for the garden’s famous collection during lockdown.

Now six of the best have been created for real in the New Forest garden, and are on display before being positioned in their permanent locations.

The doors join more than 40 others hidden around the informal woodland garden, providing hours of fun for families trying to track them down.

The new doors and their designers are:

  • Autumn Cross, age three, with her Autumn Forest Hide – a safe place for hedgehogs to hide
  • Finlay Guppy, age six, with The Bug Vet, his vet’s practice for the bugs in the gardens
  • Evelyn Nicol, age seven, with her Furzey Hospital inspired by the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.
  • Jonah Rose, age 6, with Moonlight Night Flight a rocket house.
  • Meg Webb, age 10, with Tiny Treats Sweet Shop.
  • James Perrin with his Fairy Tool Shed. James is one of several people with learning disabilities who work at Furzey Gardens to learn new skills.

Autumn Cross, said ‘I like my door. It is for the hedgehogs to keep them safe as they are nocturnal.’

Evelyn Nicol, said: ‘They have even copied my writing.’

Finlay Guppy’s mother, Nicola said: ‘It looks absolutely amazing and he was so proud. Thank you so much, he is incredibly happy. The display was brilliant as well, such a lovely idea. It was great to see all the other doors – so much time and effort had been put into them.’

Furzey Gardens is part of Minstead Trust, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities to live more independent and fulfilled lives. People with learning disabilities work to maintain the gardens and raise new plants in the nursery.

Since reopening at the start of June, the gardens have enjoyed strong ticket sales and an overwhelmingly positive response from visitors delighted to be back in the gardens.

There are stringent measures in place to keep visitors safe, with a new entrance and one way route to aid social distancing. The tea rooms are serving a takeaway menu including sandwiches, cakes, cream teas and scones.

Furzey Gardens has lost tens of thousands of pounds in income from closing during coronavirus and with restrictions on the numbers that can safely visit, daily costs will continue to exceed income for some time to come. The Trust is relying on the generosity of its visitors and supporters to secure the future of the gardens in order to continue to welcome visitors and support vulnerable people.

Every visitor paying the suggested donation for tickets and every new member makes a real difference.

Entrance is by suggested donation, all visitors must pre-book their slot at www.furzey-gardens.org

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