Open Gardens for a personal “thank you”
“Get checked out dad,” my daughters kept telling me.
I had never thought about it and, despite the repeated plea, I never had time.
And then I did. I got checked and everything changed.
My name is Philip Greenacre. My wife Chris and I were farmers until our retirement in 2008. We had always worked hard, so in retirement we knew we needed a project. Chris loves gardening and I love Chris so it seemed natural when we bought Furze House in Rushall, with its two acres of land.
To be honest, when we moved in the garden was no more than lawn, with quite a few trees and four herbaceous beds.
The garden has evolved during the last eight years and now boasts over 50 beds full of shrubs, perennials and rare plants sourced from all over the UK and Europe. We entered the National Garden Scheme yellow book in 2010 and received our five-year certificate in 2015.
The same year I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
I had no symptoms, so going to the doctors was not a priority. I felt fine, but was gradually worn down by the determined nagging of my two daughters (no idea where they get that from).
The first test came back slightly higher than normal and the second test, three months later, showed an increase so I was referred to a urology consultant for a biopsy. The results stated that 50 per cent of the samples were cancerous. This was when the NHS, and especially the wonderful staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, really got going.
The first step was a course of hormone tablets followed by hormone injections. I then became a member of the “37” club as I endured 37 days of radiotherapy. It was hard – there is no getting away from that – but the staff at the NNUH was nothing short of exceptional. Everyone always had a smile and was always positive.
Me and Chris felt we needed to give something back to the NNUH for the marvellous treatment I had received, and we could see no better way than to reopen our garden to raise funds for the radiotherapy department.
So that is what we are doing with two open weekends this year, plus all the “by appointment” group visits.
And if you are wondering, this February I got the all clear! So my advice to all those gentlemen out there of a certain age: listen to the nagging and get yourself checked.
Sat 4 to Mon 6 June, 10am – 5pm
Sat 20 to Mon 22 August, 10am – 5pm
Entry £3.50, children free
Dogs on leads welcome, light refreshments available
Furze House, Harleston Road, Rushall, Diss, IP21 4RT