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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 June, 2003, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
London's hidden gardens open
26 new gardens are taking part this year
Nearly 100 of the capital's most beautiful private gardens are unlocking their gates to the public this weekend.

The event, the sixth London Garden Squares Day, begins with a chance to relax on London's busiest shopping street.

Most of the city's hidden green oases open on Sunday when visitors will discover romantic woodland walks, secret "children only" areas, charming Japanese rooftops and even floating gardens.

The day is an initiative of the London Parks and Gardens Trust, supported by English Heritage, to raise awareness of the diversity and beauty of garden squares scattered throughout London.

What is fascinating with a lot of these squares is that with community gardens everyone is very keen to get involved with it
Drew Bennellick from English Heritage

The aim is to draw attention to the contribution green spaces make to the London's culture and environment and the importance attached to their continued conservation.

Twenty six new venues are taking part this year including the garden of the British Medical Association, Camden, designed by architect Edward Lutyens and full of medicinal plants.

There are the Phoenix Square community gardens, in central London, reclaimed from a car park, and the Draper's Hall Garden in the heart of the City.

Visitors to the gardens were being welcomed with live music recitals, Punch and Judy shows, Scottish dancing, champagne and traditional cream teas and even the offer of Indian head massages.

Drew Bennellick, Landscape Architect at English Heritage, said: "What is fascinating with a lot of these squares is that with community gardens everyone is very keen to get involved with it."

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