On 23rd July this year, I opened my garden to neighbours, friends and members of groups I belong to.
It was something I had been planning for about a year, taking cuttings and potting up plants ready to sell. As I spend so much time (and money) on the garden I thought I should try and do something with it. It also gave me a good excuse to spend even longer and even more money on it.
As the time grew closer I began to get more and more nervous. I was worried that the garden would be in that awful stage between early summer flowers and late summer flowers. I was watching plants daily and looking at photos from previous years trying to work out what would be out.
As you can see I needn’t have worried – the garden did its very best for me.
Once the plants were looking OK I became a little concerned that no-one was going to come! I had put RSVP on the invites, but two weeks beforehand the only replies I had were people who were going to be away, or were going to have visitors, or birthday celebrations, or graduation ceremonies! It looked like I was only going to have about 20 people and that was including helpers. That was OK but I had about 200 plants to sell and friends were making about 10 cakes. That is ten plants and half a cake each!
Again, I shouldn’t have worried. The sun came out and the people came. I had between 40 and 50 people on the day and with the plant sale too we made a good sum of money.
I had some very good friends helping me on the day. Two ladies, Gillian and Chris made delicious cakes for me. Just as well because despite trying several times my Lemon Drizzle Cake just wouldn’t rise! They then manned the kitchen providing tea and coffee for 4 hours. A new friend, Paul, offered to help with the plants and did a stunning job sitting in the garage for a couple of hours. That left me and Mike free to circulate and show people round the garden.
My young friend, Ashley, had brought her spinning wheel and people found her knowledge of all things sheep related very interesting. I don’t think she had any takers for trying it themselves though. Perhaps they were afraid they would prick their finger and fall asleep for 100 years!
People were very complimentary on the garden, with the two favourite plants being a climbing rose that I have had long before I kept plant labels, and a small penstemon ‘Husker’s Red’ that was flowering beautifully.
Local gardeners were also surprised that I had a Cistus ‘Alan Fradd’ and a woody Salvia ‘Royal Bumble’ obviously thriving. I don’t think I will take any chances next winter, though, and will be taking some cuttings.
So, all in all, it was a wonderful event and I shouldn’t have worried so much. Would I recommend you doing it – absolutely! Would I do it again – the jury is out!